Press Release
June 26, 2018
3 minute read

EDA Small Business Grant Program Helps Five Passaic County Businesses Make Improvements

TRENTON, N.J. (June 26, 2018) – Five Passaic County urban businesses are making improvements to their facilities with funding provided through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (EDA’s) Business Improvement Incentive (BII) Program. Together with the Business Lease Incentive (BLI) Program, the BII Program is designed to support the growth of first-floor retail and services businesses operating in eligible commercial areas of Garden State Growth Zones (GSGZ), designated as Passaic, Paterson, Atlantic City, Camden, and Trenton through the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act.

Administered by the EDA in collaboration with the GSGZs, the BII Program offers grants of up to 50 percent of total project costs for small businesses that are planning to make improvements to their property. The grant amount cannot exceed $20,000, with a minimum project cost of $5,000. The program is available to first-floor businesses in targeted commercial corridors.

BD Supermarket is a Bangladeshi market in Paterson owned by Akkas and Ismat Ali. The brothers plan to use the nearly $19,200 BII grant to replace the roof on the property, pave the parking lot, and install new front windows.

Robertiello’s Auto Body is owned and operated by Robert Moore. Robertiello’s has provided auto body repair services to customers in Paterson since the 1940s. With the $10,050 BII grant, Moore plans to add a new stucco facade, new signage and a new garage door to its building.

“These improvements will enhance Robertiello’s visibility and curb appeal and will open the door for new opportunities,” said Moore. “The availability of the BII Program made the decision to move forward with these upgrades an easy one.”

Another mainstay in Paterson, Farrar Filter Company, has provided an array of air-filter related services for nearly 70 years. These include selling and servicing air and carbon filter systems as well as odor-control systems and conducts in-house testing laboratory for detecting the activity rating of carbon samples the company receives from its customers. Husband-and-wife team Keith and Kristine Schmidt Muller, who own the business, plan to use their grant of more than $13,400 to renovate the business’s exterior facade.      

In nearby Passaic, Amigo Deli offers its patrons coffee, ice cream, empanadas, salads and more. The business plans to use the nearly $6,200 for which it was approved to replace its old signage and awning. Owner Shabbir Dungaria has indicated he will employ the services of Clifton-based Signs 2000 to undertake the improvements.

Also in Passaic, El Rodeo Bar, which is also a restaurant, was approved for up to $20,000 through the BII Program. Owner Amelia Zepeda will use the funds to construct an outdoor patio, install a new front canopy, and repair the first floor, including adding new flooring and a support beam.

In addition to the BII Program, the BLI Program offers reimbursement of fifteen percent of annual lease payments for two years to for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations in eligible areas that plan to lease between 500 and 5,000 square feet of new or additional market-rate, first-floor office, industrial or retail space for a minimum five-year term. An applicant leasing over 5,000 square feet can be eligible, but the BLI grant will only incentivize the first 5,000 square feet.

“Through these programs, the EDA is helping entrepreneurs establish and enhance their businesses, supporting the revitalization of downtown areas in communities around the State,” said Senior GSGZ Development Officer Christina Fuentes, who manages the BII and BLI programs for the EDA. “Small business owners are a driving force within New Jersey’s economy, and we encourage them to learn how these programs can help them prosper and add to existing economic momentum in key downtown areas.”

The BII and BLI programs were launched in June 2017 on a pilot basis and up to $200,000 is available per city, per year, over the three-year life of the programs.

A detailed map of eligible locations in Paterson is available at /wp-content/uploads/pdfs/GSGZ_Paterson_Map.aspx. Details of eligible locations in Passaic are available at /wp-content/uploads/pdfs/GSGZ_Passaic_Map.pdf.

For general program questions and more information about eligible locations in Paterson and Passaic, as well as other GSGZs, contact Fuentes at 609-858-6663 or

The EDA offers a range of resources to support small business growth, including low-interest loans and bond financing. Visit and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn to learn more.