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EDA approves grant for Broadway Fashions

The Suffolk Economic Development Authority approved a façade grant for Broadway Fashions to make improvements to its business at its meeting Wednesday.

The store, located at 124 W. Washington St., will receive a $6,513 grant to offset the $13,027 cost of making the improvements, which include painting the entire façade of the building, getting new carpet and a new glass side door, and replacing its awning.

“We’ve been working with the owner to encourage this,” said Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes.

The store sells men’s, women’s and children’s fashions and accessories, and has been open for 24 years, said Economic Development Manager Deanna Holt.

The EDA also received a yearly review from Assistant Director Gregory Byrd, who noted the finalized Emser Tile’s East Coast Distribution Center and the expansion of the Ace Hardware Redistribution Center, as well as funding three façade grants downtown.

Byrd also updated the EDA on 2018 marketing activity, as economic development staff combined for 345 days of marketing events, and visited with 341 Suffolk businesses last year, down from 499 in 2017. He said prospect visits to Suffolk were down slightly, from 67 in 2017 to 67 last year. Those prospect visits peaked at 103 in 2016.

Warehousing and distribution businesses made up 32 percent of those visits in 2018, with 23 percent coming on the food and beverage processing side, and another 15 percent coming in office and administrative businesses. Of the real estate inquiries last year, 58 percent were for office and administrative businesses, with industrial businesses making up 37 percent and retail 5 percent.

The EDA also elected new officers, with Wesley King taking over as chairman, John Harrell as vice chairman and Hughes as deputy secretary/treasurer. It also seated new member Branch Lawson.