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DDA approves three downtown businesses grants
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The group charged with bringing quality development to downtown Dawsonville on Monday night approved economic assistance grants to three local businesses.

Hyder Food Services, which is currently working to open Dawsonville Tavern in the Food Lion shopping center, was awarded the largest grant in the amount of $7,500.

"We, the owners of the Dawsonville Tavern, thank everyone from the DDA. We are looking forward to our grand opening and being part of Dawsonville," said Jennifer Hyder.

They hope to be open within the next month or so.

Soul Sisters Antique and Home Decor, which will open a second location on the downtown square, and Mill Creek Environmental, an 18-year business with expansion plans, each received $5,000 grants.

Sandy Alexander with Soul Sisters said she and her partners are excited to branch out.

"Soul Sisters Antiques and Home Decor are thrilled to receive a grant from the Downtown Development Authority of Dawsonville," she said. "We would like to thank the members of the authority for approving our application and look forward to opening our second location of Soul Sisters Antiques and Home Decor in late October."

The new location, just blocks away from the original on Hwy. 9 South, falls within the city's historic designation, requiring additional approval by the Historic Preservation Commission and planning board in order to begin its renovations, according to authority spokeswoman Seanie Zappendorf.

"There are businesses that see the beauty in downtown and this process proves that there are entrepreneurs that see what we see in our downtown," she said.

Richard Fanning recently purchased Mill Creek Environmental on Perimeter Road, across from Dawson County High School, with plans to expand the operation across the southeast.

"The grant will help us get ready to get the offices set and get the necessary equipment...computers and things like that to help us with our work," he said. "We're looking to add four to six new environmental scientists, geologists, biologists and supporting staff to support the growth of the business. Hopefully, that will happen over the next six months to a year, if not sooner."

Zappendorf said the authority hopes to continue to give back to the community by assisting "entrepreneurs that have the vision, the potential" and advocate for a shop local experience.

She encourages businesses to look into the city's "under-used" grants, like the Facade Revolving Loan, which could fund projects such as store front improvements.