City’s Economic Development Committee awards over $30k in latest round of small business grants

Grants awarded to four local businesses

Bear Coal Soda Fountain will upgrade the front of its building through a recent round of city's Small Business Grant Program. (Joshua Carney / Craig Press)

The city of Craig’s Economic Development Committee awarded more than $30,000 in its first round of the 2021 small business grant program Monday during its monthly meeting at city hall.

With the start of the new funding cycle, five businesses applied for funding in hopes of sprucing up city businesses, improving the aesthetics of the local businesses.

At Monday’s meeting, Bear Coal Soda Fountain, the Popular Bar, Draper Insurance, Mountain Pine Manufacturing, and Jackson’s Office Supply applied for more than $63,000 in funding for improvement projects.

Cindi Crabtree, the owner of Bear Coal Soda Fountain presented first, requesting $14,514 in funding for a project estimated at more than $29,000.

Crabtree stated that after years of keeping a clean, tidy building inside and completely a couple of remodeling projects within the business, they were aiming to upgrade the outside of the building through graphics from Identity Graphics.

“It’s not painted, it’s a film attached to four-by-eight sheets of metal,” Crabtree said. “That metal would then be put on the building, and basically makes a mural on the outside that would catch the eye.”

In addition to her request for funding to help purchase the graphics, Crabtree requested funding for an asphalt project to improve parking.

Councilor Chris Nichols questioned the importance of the asphalt to the improvement project, stating the EDC hadn’t quite done much with asphalt projects in years past.

Ultimately, the EDC awarded Crabtree $11,800 for her project, funding nearly half of the graphics purchase from Identity Graphics, while staying away from the asphalt portion of the project.

“The graphic would improve the look of the building as it stands right now,” Nichols said. “The parking lot would be nice, but we have limited resources. We’re going for the visual impact trying to change visual aesthetics.”

Jarrod Burns, owner of the Popular Bar along W. Victory Way, presented his request for $14,229 to improve the facade of the building, upgrade some lighting and replace the four main windows.

“We want to update the front of the building,” Burns said. “If anyone has ever looked at the front of the ‘Pop,’ it’s two different store fronts, so what we’re looking to do is make it one store front, add an awning above the entryway, and turn the second entryway into a smoker’s lounge.”

According to Burns’ presentation, the cost of the entire project would be just under $28,500.

Following a short discussion, the EDC decided to match the previous $11,800 grant awarded to Bear Coal Soda Fountain for the Popular Bar.

Draper Insurance and co-owner Paxton Jones then requested $2,513 for new signage on the front of the building, replacing the older Draper Insurance with a new, modern sign with a black background, projected to cost roughly $5,000.

Nichols moved to award the full request to Draper Insurance for the new signage.

With the Popular Bar and Draper Insurance receiving grant funding, Jackson’s Office Supply – located in the same area – was a logical approval as well.

Derek Cleverly of Jackson’s Office Supply presented the grant request for the business totaling $6,840 to replace fencing along the east side of the building, redo a portion of the sidewalk, and paint the metal window frames a black/charcoal mix to reduce glare for motorists along West Victory Way.

Aside from awarding the $32,953 in the first cycle, the EDC had a lengthy discussion regarding Mountain Pine Manufacturing’s $25,000 request to help facilitate the purchase of a small log processing line, which would help create nine new jobs, according to Trent Jones of Mountain Pine Manufacturing.

However, due to Mountain Pine Manufacturing falling outside city limits, the EDC was hesitant to fund the $25,000, instead asking county liaison Commissioner Tony Bohrer if the county would be willing to at least split the grant request with the city.

“I want to fund the whole thing, but I want the county to chip in as much as possible,” Nichols said.

Bohrer stated that he would take the request back to Commissioners Donald Broom and Melody Villard to discuss the project.

A decision could be made by the next EDC meeting on May 17.

Managing Editor Joshua Carney can be reached at 970-875-1790 or

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Craig and Moffat County make the Craig Press’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.