Note: The Main Street: Open for Business Grant Program was funded in 2021 as a one-year stimulus program and does not currently have funding available.
The Main Street: Open for Business Grant Program, enabled by Senate Bill 21‐252, awarded money to eligible entities (municipalities, counties, and councils of government), to provide incentive programs for local business owners to improve the energy efficiency and/or aesthetics of commercial buildings within traditional downtowns. This program was designed to increase property values and visual appeal, increase sales and revenues in rehabilitated buildings, reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills, and increase job retention/creation.
The Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) received applications totaling more than $21 million in requests. Of that $21 million, $6.7 million was used to fund proposed projects in 16 communities for 102 businesses, with 65 of these being small disadvantaged businesses enterprises (DBEs).
The Main Street: Open for Business grant was administered by the Colorado Main Street Program within the Department of Local Affairs' Division of Local Government, guiding community-led downtown revitalization through a customizable framework to focus efforts, energy, and resources to create more vibrant communities across the state.
- The Main Street: Open for Business grant was a tremendous success!
- Sales increased by an average of 25.4% across businesses reporting
- 67% of all business reported some increase in sales; 45% of business reported an increase of more than 15%
- Jobs increased by 20.3% across all businesses reporting
- The average saving on utility bills was $412 for a single year
- Sales tax increased 47% across 10 communities
- An additional 30 buildings not awarded funds were renovated in 11 of the communities
- For every $1 of public funds invested, $2.26 in private funds were spent
Check out the details-including before and after photos-of five of the communities that received Main Street Open for Business funding.
Following the Covid-19 pandemic and regional wildfires in 2020, Granby received $757,140 from the Main Street: Open for Business grant for energy efficiency upgrades, façade improvements, and ADA accessibility upgrades on 11 buildings.
Bowerbird's Den - Before
Bowerbird's Den - After
Simple Coffee - Before
Simple Coffee - After
"I have worked for Main Street across multiple states for over seven years now and this is the most transformative program I have seen. Beyond the economic impact of directly beautifying our downtown and the creation of local jobs, we are already seeing a domino effect. A shuttered business is going to reopen because of these funds and unengaged business owners have started to engage again." - Lauren Huber, Destination Granby Executive Director and Main Street Manager
The Town of Hugo
The Town of Hugo was awarded $602,169 for a complete renewal of their small downtown, with 11 buildings containing, all representing (DBEs). Improved energy efficiency, new windows and doors for storefronts, decorative awnings, and signage improve visibility for businesses along State Highway 287.
Flying Dutchman - Before
Flying Dutchman - After
Moose Roost - Before
Moose Roost - After
"The Main Street: Open For Business grant is allowing us to do things for the building that we would never be able to do otherwise. We have heat in the building for the first time since we've lived in it, (other than a wood stove and a pellet stove) which in the big building, doesn't really cover everything. But, we now have heat, and we'll have air conditioning this summer. Now icing won't separate, so that's a good thing when you're a baker." - Sheri Gaskins, Moose Roost Owner
Leadville was awarded $250,000 toward the renovation of the historic Herald Democrat building at 715-717 Harrison Avenue, and will greatly improve the appearance and historic value of Leadville's downtown. Skilled bricklayers have rotated each brick of the building's facade, the decorative cornice has been restored, and new windows and doors installed.
Herald Democrat - Before
Herald Democrat - After
"The MSOB grant paved the way to help one of the oldest buildings on our Main Street maintain its rightful legacy in Leadville. The Herald Democrat Building is truly a community gem rich in Colorado history. The improvements to their building will lift up the historic Harrison Avenue." - Nancy Bailey, Main Street Director
San Luis was awarded $560,722 to invest in five key businesses owned by minorities and women. In addition to the R&R Market, one of the oldest continually operating businesses in the state, the San Luis Inn, Central Oil, Mrs. Rios Restaurant, and Padilla's Liquor are also being upgraded. These Colorado landmarks were revitalized by fresh paint, new signs, new windows, doors, and energy-efficient upgrades.
Central Oil - Before
Central Oil - After
Central Oil - Before
Central Oil - After
"The MSOB grant has given a much needed facelift to our five staple businesses and greatly improved our tired-looking historic downtown in ways never imagined. Business owners are reporting a dramatic increase in tourists stopping because the buildings look more inviting and signage is more attractive and visible. Padilla's Service Station, for example, has benefitted from a lighted sign displaying their gas prices and Central Oil and Picadilly's Pizza have seen an increase in customers because their facade is now more inviting. These improvements are bringing back economic vitality to San Luis, the oldest town in Colorado. This MSOB grant opportunity was a bit of a miracle for San Luis and we are eager to see what the future holds for our hometown." - Susan Sanderford, San Luis Town Manager.
The Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) awarded the Town of Silverton $612,849 to help preserve eight buildings through façade improvements, while looking toward the future of this National Historic District with a number of energy efficiency upgrades including windows and solar panels.
Coal Bank - In Progress
Alma House - In Progress
Quiet Bear - After
"The MSOB grant has given our resilient businesses the capacity to improve their buildings, beautify our downtown, and encourage an economically sustainable economy. Through these projects, we’re even seeing a ripple effect of other revitalization and improvement efforts that is allowing Silverton to put its best face forward." - Beth Kremer, San Juan Development Association, Economic Diversification & Resiliency Coordinator