Perry “Boost” Program helps better downtown businesses

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PERRY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Have you ever wanted to help out your favorite store in Downtown Perry? Now you can!

If you take a stroll down Carroll Street in Perry you’ll see flowers, beautiful window displays, and a number of hanging signs.

"Two Friends is your everything boutique. Home accessories, baby items. If you need a gift, we have it for you," said Leah Fountain, the owner of Two Friends.

Just across the street is Sugar Plum Tree, a staple in Downtown Perry for 35 years.

"We’re a children’s store. From newborn all the way up to size 16 for girls and size 7 for boys," explained Mallory Arnold, the owner of Sugar Plum Tree.

The store owners said running a small business can be a challenge. Especially when you’re balancing home life and a career.

"We think it’s amazing that the residents of Perry want to do this for us," said Arnold.

Thanks to the Downtown Development Authority, customers can now give their favorite stores a "boost." The new program is based off the successful one in Downtown Milledgeville.

"We ask for a commitment of $100 twice a year for two years," said Catherine Edgemon, the Perry Main Street Coordinator.

The total $400 goes into a trust fund for small business grants. Owners can apply for money to help their store.

"It can be advertising, signage, a security system, maybe they need a new piece of equipment," explained Edgemon.

The "boosters" who donate the money get to review the applications and decide which store gets a grant.

"That’s that pat on the back that we love to get. The support of the community, that’s why we do it," said Fountain.

Store owners are grateful people want to help their businesses thrive.

"Makes us really want to better our business even more to support our community," explained Arnold.

The extra money helps them achieve that goal.

"Technology is always changing so I think a new computer system would be something that we would love to do," said Fountain.

"Boost" organizers hope to recruit investors this month so they can open the grant application window in June.