InStore Program Offers Forgivable Loans To Small Businesses

Written by: Alan Nochumson

If you occupy a property within the City of Philadelphia and are a retail, food, or creative business and are planning to either make improvements to your existing location or open a new location, you may be eligible for the InStore Program, a forgivable loan program administered by the City of Philadelphia's Department of Commerce.

The amount of the forgivable loan may be anywhere from as little as $15,000 to as much as $50,000 for the business improvement project.

The forgivable loan does not require payments and is forgiven if the recipient of the loan meets the InStore Program’s guidelines for five (5) years.

Under the InStore program, a business improvement project will be evaluated based on a variety of criteria, including the following priorities: (1) enhancement of an existing cluster of retail, food, or creative businesses; (2) generation of increased foot traffic to a commercial corridor by attracting as well as enhancing a business that will serve as a destination for new visitors; (3) improvement of the retail mix found within a commercial corridor by starting a new business that meets an identified, unmet need for specific goods or services; (4) financial feasibility and equity investment from the applicant which matches or exceeds the loan amount; (5) demonstration of community support; and (6) impact on job retention and creation.

According to the Department of Commerce, eligible improvements under the InStore Program include “security systems, telephone systems, alarm systems, point of sale equipment, kitchen equipment, computer ordering systems, millwork, flooring, lighting, sound systems, theater seating, display furnishings and shelving, HVAC equipment, coolers, refrigeration units, specialty piping (not including normal plumbing expenditures), and similar items.”

To download an application under the InStore program, click here.

Alan Nochumson