YoCo Bloom

    It Takes a Village

    Writer Rachel Curry
    Photographer Eric Forberger

    Thirty Small Businesses, One Fundraising Success

    This year, funds from the YoCo Bloom Grant came at a time when many small businesses in Downtown York needed them the most. The YoCo Bloom Grant is a program that funds small businesses in Downtown York. For 2020, thirty grant recipients received a total of $115,000, made up of contributions from Give Local York, Downtown Inc and York County Economic Alliance, and a philanthropic donor. The program has been around since 2018, but this year’s success stood out.

    One of the grant recipients was June Wise, owner of Wise Sauce and this year’s winner of Downtown Inc’s Outstanding New Business award. Wise Sauce, which calls the Penn Market home, was born of a need for allergy-friendly flavor.

    Wise sources her ingredients from local farmers, so she used the grant to keep costs low for her customers, even when fresh, local produce was more expensive during the pandemic. “There’s got to be a way to keep our prices low and still be able to get supplies. That’s when I found out about the grant,” she said.

    Wise says her ultimate goal is to evolve into a fully fledged restaurant, so folks seeking nutritious comfort food don’t have to look far. She also hopes to use what she’s learned in the business world to guide other entrepreneurs in t he right direction.

    Another grant recipient was David Smith, coowner of i-ron-ic, an art cafe in WeCo with a penchant for whimsy. Smith and co-owner Steve Billet used their grant to furnish an outdoor seating area.

    “They helped us purchase umbrellas, cushions, extra chairs and tables and some flowerpots,” Smith said, adding “We have a side yard and didn’t put a lot of energy into beautifying it. But then when the pandemic came, we really had to up our game.”

    When asked how he’d describe the space’s aesthetic, Smith struggled to pin down a single adjective, ultimately landing on the word eclectic. Surely, his new outdoor space — funded by the YoCo Bloom Grant — will match what’s inside.

    I-ron-ic has a pay-it-forward program where some customers pay extra so others who can’t afford it can still enjoy a bite or beverage. “It trickles down,” said Smith. “Somebody helps us, we help somebody else. A cup of coffee can change someone’s life.”

    2020 YoCo Bloom Grant Recipients

    • Aye Ryze
    • Chas A Schaefer Flowers, Inc.
    • Cherrie Anne Designs
    • Cornerstone Barbershop and Shave Parlour
    • Cupcakes and More
    • Designbots Media Firm
    • Diane and Anita’s Beauty Salon
    • Didi & Smiling John’s Barber Shop
    • First Capital Dispensing Co
    • Global Cafe
    • Hair Depot
    • Holy Hound Taproom
    • I-RON-IC
    • J.R.’s Fresh Cut Fries
    • Molly’s Courtyard Cafe
    • Mkup the Beauty Studio LLC
    • Naska Bakery LLC
    • Nuts About Granola, LLC.
    • OMG Studios
    • Restaurant Row Outdoor Dining
    • Revolt Style Studio
    • Sniffany’s of York, LLC
    • Soulfood in the Park
    • Take Five Expresso Bar
    • The New Hub Store
    • The Next Level Barbershop, LLC
    • Tony Orr’s Son and Daughters Barber Shop
    • Wise Sauce
    • York City Pretzel Company

    Downtown York Perspectives:

    How do you feel supported by the York community this year?
    “This has been a tough year in so many ways, yet, in spite of the circumstances, the York community comes together. I’m thankful for the support of community partners, donors, our colleagues at the City of York and so many others who, through partnership and collaboration, have helped make things happen this year, in spite of the challenges.”
    — Elaine Bonneau, Downtown Inc

    YoCo Bloom