MOREHEAD CITY, (WNCT) – Applications are now open for a grant program that will help small businesses in Morehead City.  

Downtown Morehead City Inc. was chosen by the Duke Energy Foundation to distribute $25,000 dollars back into the local economy. Applicants who spoke with 9OYS said they hope this money will help revitalize the downtown area.  

“We were shut down inside for 345 days, we were allowed in late October to open up outside in a minimum capacity level. And that helped us lose a little bit less money per month, I guess,” said the owner of Arendell Room, Denny Shrock. 

Businesses in Morehead City couldn’t catch a break after Hurricane Florence in 2018 and then the pandemic in 2020.  

“They let us open back up and we started feeling normal again, we ran into another issue and that was the lack of being able to find staff,” said Shrock.  

Shrock said it’s been a struggle. That’s why he decided to apply for the grant as soon as the applications opened.  

He’s not the only business owner that’s struggled these past couple of years. Just a few blocks over, Cote Boutique also applied. 

“[COVID-19] shut everybody down for an extended amount of time, especially for a business in a smaller town. That can be when you’re a brick and mortar that can be really difficult,” said co-owner Brandyn Latham. 

Downtown Morehead City officials said the grant program is open to businesses from 4th to 18th Street. They’re hoping to pump some money back into the local economy to benefit everyone. 

“It can be for something that maybe you had to spend money on to prepare for the pandemic, all the regulations, and things. It could be for an outdoor area, it could be for a new project that you could happen to do,” said Downtown Morehead City Executive Director Lisa Rueh. 

Applications for the grant will be open until December 5th. To read more about the requirements, click here.