Tara Robertson started PupStars Pet Care out of her home in 2006. The business later expanded to a storefront in Ukrainian Village, and in September relocated to its new Near West Side home. The business offers pet supplies, dog yoga classes, grooming, walking, training, boarding and in-home pet sitting. The expansion allows for the addition of free educational events on pet care topics like vaccinations, food options, and how to choose the right pet for your lifestyle.

The new 10,000 square foot location required extensive construction, including demolition, framing, plumbing and electrical. A Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) grant, facilitated by SomerCor, partially financed the construction.

“The foot traffic of African-American people coming here has really increased which honestly makes me happy, because of the fact of how much money we spend in other areas… it’s nice to see them come here,” said Jabré Washington, PupStars’ operations director.

Since relocating to the Near West Side, Washington said PupStars is succeeding at building up a new local client base in the area. PupStars gained 16 new clients in October alone, Washington said.

You can read the full article in Block Club Chicago here.

The City of Chicago’s Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) promotes economic development by providing small businesses with financial assistance for building-improvement costs. SomerCor is the program administrator contracted by the City’s Department of Planning and Development for the SBIF program. SBIF grants use local Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenue to reimburse you for the pre-approved repair or rehab of your business facilities or adjacent land acquisition. You must be located within a SBIF eligible TIF district. The maximum grant assistance for an industrial property is $150K; for a single-tenant commercial property the maximum is $100K; and for multi-tenant commercial property, it is $50K. Click here if you are interested in learning more about this program.

(photo credit: Pascal Sabino, Block Club Chicago)