Aurora Downtown Gifts Five Grants to Downtown Businesses

Clara Diaz, owner of Balderas Beauty Salon, at 25 N. Broadway is working to raise money to restore the original tin ceiling in her salon. She recently received a grant from Aurora Downtown to assist the process.

Clara Diaz, owner of Balderas Beauty Salon, at 25 N. Broadway is working to raise money to restore the original tin ceiling in her salon. She recently received a grant from Aurora Downtown to assist the process.

Aurora Downtown announces the following grant recipients for the 2016 Aurora Downtown Business and Retention Committee (BAR) Grant Awards.

 

The downtown organization gifted five grant awards to both new and existing businesses this year.

 

Modest Coffee, a local coffee roaster, received $6,000 for a storefront at the northwest corner of Downer Place and Stolp Avenue to open at the beginning of 2017.

 

The following existing downtown businesses received $8,000 each: Oxie Affordable Optical, a new eyewear store at 131 W. Galena Blvd; Balderas Beauty Salon, a hair salon at 25 N. Broadway; and River’s Edge Cafe, a cafe open for breakfast and lunch at 14 W. Downer Pl. Ste. 18.

Mia Oxie opened Oxie Affordable Optical earlier this year at 131 W. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora.

Mia Oxie opened Oxie Affordable Optical earlier this year at 131 W. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora.

 

“I am very excited to be one of the recipients of the BAR Grant. This will really help me grow the business. I plan to use the grant for advertising and new signage on the building along with new, updated, lens fabricating equipment and telephone system and additional eyeglass frame displays and shelving,” said Mia Oxie, owner of Oxie Affordable Optical.

 

Balderas Beauty Salon intends to utilize the grant money to help with the salon’s interior remodeling project.

 

“We plan on removing the current drop ceiling in an effort to expose an existing historic tin ceiling,” said owner Clara Diaz.

Mike Mancuso, Jenni Contaldo and Marcus Contaldo stand in front of Public Access, a storefront opening soon at 1 W. Downer Pl. in downtown Aurora.

Mike Mancuso, Jenni Contaldo and Marcus Contaldo stand in front of Public Access, a storefront opening soon at 1 W. Downer Pl. in downtown Aurora.

 

The Yetee, an online t-shirt retailer located at 110 Cross St. in downtown Aurora, received $10,000 for Public Access, a storefront opening early next year at the northwest corner of Downer Place and Stolp Avenue that it will share with Modest Coffee.

 

“We will be using the money to renovate the neglected building at 1 W. Downer. We are gutting the entire building, putting on a new roof, and freshening up the exterior. Once open, Public Access is going to host an art gallery and coffee shop with some light retail, and fun arcade and pinball games. The grant really kicked the project into high gear, and we will be putting so much more into the building to give Aurorans a place to be proud of,” said Mike Mancuso, owner of The Yetee and Public Access.

 

Aurora Downtown president Kim Granholm, owner of Aurora Fastprint, said that she is proud of the program and its success thus far. “It’s our goal to see downtown grow and be successful. These grants give businesses the boost they need and we’re all benefiting from what they bring to downtown,” she said.

 

Aurora Downtown started the grant program last year and has had success with first year recipients All Spoked Up, a bicycle shop at 14 W. Downer, and HealthMarkets at 40 W. Downer Pl.