GENEVA — Eight businesses are sharing in $168,000 in grants under the city’s Microenterprise Assistance Program.

The grants are being given to both startups and businesses planning to expand. In all, 15 jobs will be created.

Among the startup winners is the Waste Not Shop, owned by Marilla Gonzalez, which is getting $25,000 to open what is being called a low-waste health food store on Exchange Street.

Gonzalez, who lives in Geneva, is known to many in the region as a member of the The Lipker sisters. She previously worked at the health food store Mother Earth Natural foods, which closed in 2018 with the retirement of owner Cindy Bowen.

“I came of age working downtown Geneva, and I fell in love with it,” said Gonzalez. “I fell in love with helping people. Working at Mother Earth didn’t solely mean selling product. It meant getting to know the faces that walked through the door and caring about their stories.”

The other winners:

• The Cracker Factory, an event venue at 35 Lehigh St., $25,000 to add a bar on the second floor as part of an effort to expand its space.

• Simple Sweets Bakery, 93 Castle St., $18,450 to purchase additional equipment to meet customer demand.

• Maggie’s Greens, $17,450 to move its microgreen business from Waterloo to Lewis Street.

• El Rinconcito, $15,000 to add additional equipment to its Latino bakery and cafe that is expected to open at 142 Castle St. in the near future.

• F.L.X. Catering & Company, $25,000 to create a full-scale catering company on Linden Street.

• Lokahi Spa, $25,000 to create a new wellness facility featuring float therapy on Exchange Street.

• Melody’s Shear Design, $17,175 for a new hair salon featuring spa services on Exchange Street.

“All of these new and expanding businesses will contribute to the growth of our downtown and main streets here in Geneva,” city officials said in a news release.

The Microenterprise Assistance Program, a federally funded initiative administered by the city’s Office of Neighborhood Initiatives, is designed to help new businesses get started and existing ones expand, while creating jobs in the process.

Business owners must provide 10 percent of the project cost in cash. Applicants must also complete an approved business ownership or entrepreneurial program, and all must attend a business-mentoring meeting with the city’s small business counselor to develop a business plan.

The city has applied for state funds to continue the program in 2020.

For more information email Collette Barnard at

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