Albany, N.Y. – For many in the Schoharie Valley region, the severe weather of 2011 is a distant memory. In other areas, the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee is still evident in empty storefronts and forever changed landscapes.
The Schoharie Laundromat was in operation for many years at 299 Main Street in the village of Schoharie. As conditions from the storm worsened, the laundromat closed early and never reopened. For nearly two years, area residents had to go to Middleburgh, Cobleskill or even further afield to find a laundromat to do a basic every day chore.
Nancy and John Wolfe purchased the property to re-establish the business and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars. The building was gutted and new electric, plumbing, HVAC and hot water tanks were installed. The ceiling and walls were replaced and the bathroom made larger and handicap-accessible. New washers and dryers were purchased and installed.
“To live through the storms was bad enough, but to see these businesses that never reopened, that was a shame,” said Nancy Wolfe, owner of the Wolfe’s Den Laundromat. “We knew that we couldn’t do it all ourselves, but my husband John and I were determined to bring the laundromat back to Schoharie. We’re so thankful that the grant from National Grid helped us get up and running.”
National Grid’s $25,000 grant from the Main Street Revitalization Program helped to mitigate the risk of the major investment made to start the business. To meet the qualifications of the grant program, projects have to be located in a central business district/commercial area and the building itself had to be temporarily vacant due to the impact of the storms. Funds could be used for site preparation and construction, and renovation and rehabilitation of commercial, industrial or mixed-use buildings smaller than 100,000 square feet.
“By helping to bring another business back to Schoharie’s Main Street, other businesses in the immediate area have benefited from the additional foot traffic, the return of services and the psychological lift of getting rid of a visible reminder of those harrowing storms,” said Bill Flaherty, National Grid Director of Community and Customer Management for Eastern New York. “This type of assistance from National Grid helps get these communities back on their feet by providing a little extra support to small businesses.”
In addition to the restoration of power to hundreds of thousands of area residents and countless volunteer hours, National Grid, with special permission from the Public Service Commission, extended millions of dollars in grants to help businesses and communities rebuild.
Those interested in learning more about National Grid’s economic development programs should visit: http://www.shovelready.com/