The Main Street Bounceback Grants program provides $10,000 to new or existing businesses and non-profit organizations moving into vacant properties in Wisconsin’s downtowns and commercial corridors. Funds can be used to pay leases or mortgages, operational expenses and other business costs related to the newly opened location. The program is open to new or existing businesses opening a new location or expanding operations in a vacant commercial space as of January 1, 2021. Grant funds are available as part of the American Recovery Plan Act and will be distributed by WEDC’s regional partners. Businesses must apply through the partner organization for the region in which they are located.
For more information, visit WEDC.org/mainstreet-bounceback
Q: My business already moved into a new space earlier this year, can I apply for the grant?
A: Yes! Businesses or organizations that have leased or purchased vacant commercial spaces in Wisconsin as of January 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022, can qualify for the grant.
Q: By when do I have to move into the space to be eligible for the grant?
A: Businesses that have a signed lease or mortgage agreement as of January 1, 2021, or starting before June 30, 2022, can apply.
Q: How long will the grants be available?
A: Businesses have until June 20, 2022 to lease or purchase a property in order to qualify for the grant, however, grant funds are limited, so funding may run out before then.
Q: What kinds of business are eligible/is my business eligible?
A: Most types of businesses qualify, as long as they will not be using the space for storage only. Landlords or real estate investment firms are not eligible for the grant unless they intend to operate their business out of the space. More details are available at WEDC.org/mainstreet-bounceback.
Q: Do I get to choose a space, or are only certain spaces eligible?
A: As long as the space was vacant before you moved in and you aren’t vacating another space to move, you are eligible to apply.
Q: I’m renewing my lease, can I qualify?
A: No, you can only qualify for the grant if you are moving into a previously vacant space and can certify you are not vacating another commercial property space in Wisconsin to do so.
Q: I own a franchise, am I eligible?
A: Franchises are eligible as long as they are independently owned. Locations run by national or regional chains are not eligible.
Q: I am expanding my business to a second or third location. Can I apply for the grant?
A: Yes. Additional locations for existing businesses can qualify.
Q: Can non-profit organizations apply for the grant?
A: Yes, non-profit organizations are welcome to apply for the grant.
Q: Are there restrictions on what the grant funds can be used for?
A: Grant funds can be used for paying lease or mortgage payments, building repair and tenant improvements and other business expenses. Grant funds can’t be used for residential properties or storage spaces.
Q: Why is the state of Wisconsin offering these grants?
A: Our main streets and commercial corridors are the anchors of our communities, so it’s in all our best interests to keep them healthy. A vacant storefront can’t provide jobs, build wealth, attract customers to other nearby businesses or contribute to the community. Plus, opening a physical location is expensive; by helping a business defray these costs, we give them a better chance for long-term success.
Q: I own/manage a vacant commercial property; how do I get someone to move in?
A: We aren’t in a position to match properties with businesses.
Q: Is the grant available across Wisconsin?
A: Yes, the program is statewide. If the vacant commercial property you are moving into is not in one of those counties you can fill out the form at WEDC.org/mainstreet-bounceback and the organization administering the grant in your region will get in contact with you.
Q: How will receiving this grant affect my taxes?
A: Every business’ situation is different, so we’re not in a position to offer tax guidance. We recommend you talk with your accountant or tax professional. Because Main Street Bounceback Grants funding is available as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), you might also want to look at this IRS page.