Opinion: Dairy Queen project meets requirements for grant, Canton business owner says
Tuesday, May 14, 2019 - 9:56 am

Owner, Nature’s Storehouse

I understand that public opinions vary on whether or not the Village of Canton should apply for funding on behalf of the Canton Dairy Queen.

I would like to share the following:

The Canton Dairy Queen is owned by my husband’s family. They have been doing business in Canton for four generations.

They have owned McCarthy’s restaurant, Canton Bakery, DQ, and now Joshua and I own Nature’s Storehouse.

Our purchase of Nature’s was made possible by financial assistance from Gail Crabtree, my mother-in-law, and current co-owner of DQ.

Some folks feel that the DQ has not participated in the community, but simply running a successful business and supporting other small business owners is a huge way of contributing to the success of a community.

Without Gail’s support, I would not have had the opportunity to serve Canton and advocate for downtown Canton as a small business owner.

Consider that a $176,000 Community Development Block Grant was awarded to Canton for their Microenterprise Grant Program in 2016. Recipients were: Hawkshaw Mead Works, Grasse River Outfitters, Millennial Currency, Fourth Coast Entertainment, Celtic Knot, and Luna Boutique all receiving $25,000 – $35,000.

Our community put faith in them and gave this boost to start a new business, pay for new equipment, or take their business to the next level. No petitions were submitted against these grants.

Like you and I, the DQ owners are imperfect humans. They have made some good decisions and some poor decisions. However, they have been a steady presence in Canton, providing a service and paying taxes for over 50 years!

Total DQ project cost is near $950,000. The $195,000 grant proposal seems proportionate to what other small businesses have received.

The DQ owners will pay over $750,000 with insurance, personal assets, and bank loans already secured in the maximum amount available. This grant is a true gap-filler. They will not see one dollar of grant money until folks are employed. They will operate year-round and provide 13 FT-equivalent jobs.

This is not taking money from other businesses or community projects. The DQ project simply meets the requirements of this particular grant, which aims to provide jobs for low-moderate income people.

If Canton does not apply for the funds, another town will.

Contact Leigh Rodriguez for more information or to express support of the DQ grant application. [email protected] or 315-386-2871.