BY BRIANNA HAYES
Clarkston News Intern
Driving through Clarkston’s Downtown Historic District, it is easy for the eyes to spot the large businesses of the area.
Yet, what most people don’t know and isn’t as apparent by just one glance, is that in the historic district alone, Clarkston is home to over 65 different independent businesses, and they need help now more than ever.
Brandon Still, a Clarkston resident and local business owner, has teamed with other residents and owners to try to bring more help to Clarkston’s downtown area.
Still and his associates reached out to the Main Street Oakland County (MSOC) organization to see what they need to do to make Clarkston have a bigger appearance in the organization, which in turn opens us up to more helpful opportunities.
The MSOC helps with downtown historic preservation, economic vitality, place making, and marketing-really anything they can do to strengthen smaller downtown areas. One large resource the organization provides is grants.
“This year, we’ve already had two businesses be the recipients of what they call a ‘micro grant,’ but with participating more formally, we are opening up the opportunity for the city to qualify for much larger grants,” said Still.
In light of COVID-19 and the government order to close down businesses, the MSOC started a “Match on Main” program that allowed Oakland County communities to sign up and participate in a community fundraiser. The idea behind this program is for the MSOC to inject emergency funds into the different communities.
Participating cities are asked to join “Patronicity,” a large crowd funding program, where the community will ask for donations to support local businesses. At the end of the program, the MSOC will match dollar for dollar of what was raised up to $4,000.
“Our goal right now is $5,000, and Main Street Oakland County will contribute another $4,000 if we get that much,” Still said. “A portion of the crowd funding for the Clarkston community will go towards officially forming our legal entity as a bigger part of MSOC program, and the remainder will be going directly into the hands of business owners.”
After applying for funds, the application will then be discussed by the review board – a group of Clarkston representatives – to see if the business is eligible for the grant.
Funds are expected to be sent out to Clarkston businesses by the middle to end of June when the crowd funding is over.
In need of extra support for your business? Contact Still at email@example.com or visit www.patronicity.com/clarkston.