March 17th, 2015 0 comments

Storefront awnings serve many purposes for a business… shelter for patrons, signage for marketing, electrical savings during hot summer months, and more. Despite these many benefits, for some small businesses there is hesitation in the installation or replacement of an awning because of the associated costs. But thanks to city/town initiatives to increase economic development, you can help your prospective customer overcome these financial hurdles and build their business, and yours.

What Is A Facade Improvement Program?

A Facade Improvement Program is a type of incentive program for businesses and property owners that encourages them to upkeep and improve their building exteriors. Programs can be focused on commercial or residential properties, historic areas or new developments. Financial assistance programs will provide a grant, loan or tax incentive to your customer to help defer the cost of improving their frontage appearance. 

Often these programs also offer design assistance to meet the standards required by the city/town providing the program. This kind of design assistance can be very useful to an awning fabricator, who will be provided with clear guidelines of what is required for financial assistance, helping to simplify the choices and options for a customer.

Why Do Communities Institute Facade Improvement Programs?

Economic development for the city or town is the main impetus for a facade improvement program, however communities across the US have seen other advantages, including beautification, increase in property resale values and business growth for the participating properties.

Awning fabricators already know the great benefits that an awning will bring to a customer, but customer confidence is increased when they find out that their city/town planners and development professionals are finding value in a program. The financial assistance offered will vary from community to community, but awnings that meet the specifications for the program can see a financial value in the thousands of dollars that can help a customer find the justification for their project. In Massachusetts, programs in some cities provide reimbursement up to $35,000 based on the scope of work. 

How Do I Know If My Customer’s City Has A Facade Improvement Program?

Larger cities who offer a variety of business assistance programs will generally provide information about a facade program on their Community or Economic Development website. For smaller towns, the Planning Department or Economic Development Office will provide information which will be available to the awning customer or fabricator looking to serve the area. Contact the city/town office to speak with the Planning or ED director to inquire about opportunities and guidelines.

If the community you serve does not offer a facade improvement program, I encourage you to bring these programs to the attention of the Planning Department and/or Economic Development Office. Knowing that there is interest in the program and potential for vendors to serve the city/town needs provides planners and managers in the city office with an opportunity to improve their community as well as increase revenues and tax base for the businesses involved.

about the author: maryann
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