Opinion: Canton business owner feels grant money should be spent differently
Tuesday, May 14, 2019 - 9:53 am

BY ELIZABETH PIER
Owner, Nola’s General Store

So they are at it again. Monday, April 29, the (Canton) town board met to move forward for a $195,000 Community Development Grant for Canton Dairy Queen.

Our community could utilize these funds for the benefit of many, not just one. Grants should be earmarked for many and benefit us all. There are small business loans available for those that need them.

As a business owner in downtown Canton, I support the economic development process and the benefits it provides to local businesses in our community.

As a business owner, I appreciate what is involved in the day-to-day operations of owning a business in the village. I love Canton. I live here. My children attended Canton schools and St. Lawrence University. I sat on the Canton Chamber board for over 8 years. I am vested in this community economically and socially. I made the decision to buy a commercial property and move my two business operations to downtown Canton. I support our community and want to see it grow.

When I decided to open my business, I visited the Canton Economic Development office and town offices to let them know of my plans. Everyone was excited and supportive verbally. That was the extent of their involvement of getting the business approved and up and running. The surrounding small businesses were a blessing and my support system. They stopped by regularly during our renovations of the building and offered advice and assistance in getting the place up and running. Mr. Dalton was a blessing when he stepped in to get the building permit issued and I am so grateful!

Not one offer of assistance or help was offered by the town or village for grants, programs or small business assistance. There are several new businesses opening in Canton. Is the Board going to provide grants to them as well using community development funds?

There is now plenty of variety in downtown Canton to support food options. We have a taco Mexican eatery, pizza, burgers and salad bar, bagels, ice cream, potato bar and fast food burgers. Are these eateries less important than a Dairy Queen? Would the town and village get grants to completely replace these eateries should an unfortunate event occur?

If such large grants are available, shouldn’t they be utilized to benefit the community in a more diverse way? Our community is in need of so much more than spending this amount of grant money on a business that should have had insurance in place. I support assisting this business in re-establishing itself but am a bit confused over the amount of responsibility the owner’s should bear as a business owner.

I am sorry if this letter offends anyone. If the grant should go through, I will be happy for those involved. However, we need to focus on spending money in areas that will make Canton an economic destination place.