CHESTERTOWN — Chestertown entrepreneur Ingrid Hansen of Figg’s Ordinary LLC has received a $15,000 grant from the second round of the national HartBeat of Main Street grant program created by Main Street America and The Hartford.

According to a news release, grants of $5,000 to $15,000 were awarded to 31 brick-and-mortar small businesses in older, historic downtown commercial districts across the country to help them respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As small businesses continue to face enormous challenges in the wake of COVID-19, they need our support now more than ever,” said Main Street America’s President and CEO Patrice Frey. “We are proud to partner with The Hartford to help small business owners address these challenges and support the resilience of the commercial districts that make our communities thrive.”

Grant projects range from physical improvements needed to meet reopening guidelines, such as to-go windows, plexiglass dividers and air purifiers, to executing digital marketing or expansion plans.

Hansen plans to use the grant to help pay for equipment and staff to expand Figg’s products into wholesale operations, the release states.

She is one of eight Chestertown entrepreneurs working with Small Business Development Center senior consultant Garrett Glover in a one-on-one consulting program called BIRE, for Business Improvement, Retention and Expansion.

Glover has reportedly been helping Hansen hone the Figg’s Ordinary business plan.

Main Street Chestertown was able to fund the BIRE program through a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development grant.

“These HartBeat of Main Street grants are extremely competitive, and we were thrilled to hear Figg’s Ordinary was a top award winner,” said Main Street Chestertown Executive Director Kay MacIntosh. “Ingrid is a hard-working entrepreneur who is passionate about her product and committed to the community.”

In total, more than $1.2 million in grants have been awarded to 98 businesses by the HartBeat program.

“Small business owners are a special breed,” said Stephanie Bush, head of small commercial and personal lines at The Hartford. “The way they have found new and meaningful ways to serve their communities is inspirational.”

Of the 31 grants awarded, 26 benefited diverse-owned businesses, defined by the Small Business Administration as minority, woman, veteran, disabled, and/or LGBTQ-owned.

Grants benefited a range of industry types – from bakeries and beauty salons to dance schools and breweries.

Grant proposals were judged on feasibility; the extent to which the grant will address an acute business need or help a business implement innovative solutions to COVID-19-related challenges; opportunities for other businesses to learn from their work; community engagement; and strength of letters of recommendation and supporting documents.

Main Street America is a program of the National Main Street Center, which has been helping revitalize historic commercial districts for 40 years. For more information, visit mainstreet.org and main streetchestertown.org.

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