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Fulton County Center for Regional Growth awards Microenterprise Grants

John Havlick, owner of Frank's Gun & Tackle Shop, center, is presented a Microenterprise Grant Program check through the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth at a recent meeting of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors' Economic Development and Environment Committee at the County Office Building in Johnstown. At left is committee Chairman Mike Kinowski and at right is board Chairman Warren Greene. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth recently presented two checks totaling nearly $40,000 to two local businesses through the CRG’s 2019-20 Microenterprise Grant Program.

Checks were presented to Austin’s Glass Shop of 415 S. Main St., Gloversville; and Frank’s Gun & Tackle Shop Inc. at 3831 Route 30, Amsterdam.

The check presentations were made at a recent meeting of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development & Environment Committee at the County Office Building.

Austin Wells, owner of Austin’s Glass Shop, was presented a $16,554 Microenterprise Grant check.

John Havlick, owner of Frank’s Gun & Tackle Shop, received a $23,005 Microenterprise Grant check.

Austin Wells, owner of Austin's Glass Shop in Gloversville, center, is presented a Microenterprise Grant Program check through the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth at a recent meeting of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors' Economic Development and Environment Committee at the County Office Building in Johnstown. At left is committee Chairman Mike Kinowski and at right is board Chairman Warren Greene. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

CRG President/CEO Ronald Peters told the Economic Development & Environment Committee that the Microenterprise Grant Program awards grants to small businesses to assist them.

Grants are administered by the CRG. Small businesses can receive grants of up to $25,000 to assist with startup or expansion costs which create jobs.

Participation in the CRG’s business training program is required of all Microenterprise program participants and completion of CRG’s entrepreneurial training Small Business Training Program. A training program syllabus includes a general overview of business; accounting, taxes, and finance; marketing and e-commerce; and development of a business plan.

Peters said over 60 jobs have been created through 24 Microenterprise grants that have been awarded.

“It’s a county program,” Peters told supervisors.

But he said that sadly the state may not renew the Microenterprise Grant Program next year.

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed to have it again next year, but I doubt it,” Peters said.

The Austin’s Glass Shop grant was used to purchase a new industrial glass belt sander and inventory.

The Gloversville business was established in July 2019 when Wells purchased the former Fulton County Glassworks from the previous owners. Wells had worked for the previous owners for many years as an installer. But according to the CRG, during the final two years, the previous owner fell ill, the business faltered, and they decided to “get out” of business.

CRG officials said Wells stepped up, purchased the building, and worked to clear debts.

“They have three people working for them and business has boomed since getting the grant,” officials said.

The company installs residential and commercial glass as well as doing custom cutting of glass, mirrors and showers.

CRG officials noted the Fulton County Glassworks had been around 35 years and under the previous owner had an ongoing “great reputation for quality work.” There are no large-scale glass shops in Fulton County and Austin’s is now getting business from throughout the Capital Region, and as far west as Syracuse. The CRG said Wells has deals with local stores such as Lowes, Home Depot and Curtis Lumber as referral agents for his services.

The Frank’s Gun & Tackle Shop grant was used to purchase inventory.

CRG officials noted the shop was started in 1984 by Havlick. The gun and fishing supply store serves both Fulton and Montgomery counties. Officials said the store has a “great location” just before the roundabout traffic circle on Route 30, between the towns of Mayfield and Amsterdam. It is in a high traffic area with a large vehicle passby rate — a main thoroughfare to the North Country during all seasons.

Officials said Frank’s Gun & Tackle Shop is a “well-run multi-year business with positive past business financials.” It has shown growth with a “solid business plan and very good financial backing,” the CRG said.

The company recently outgrew a previous location and recently moved to the new location, purchasing a larger facility to service a growing customer base and provide more services such as gun safety classes.

The CRG said that with Frank’s Gun & Tackle Shop, there is “much room for growth and success with business plan, location and owners.”

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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