CLINTON, S.C. (WSPA) – The City of Clinton is helping business owners upgrade their shops through a new façade improvement grant program.

“There’s a lot of opportunities to beautify their buildings,” said Joe Timmons, the Main Street Clinton manager.

Timmons said there’s $150,000 to award through the program. He said the money came from property the city sold last year.

“I wanna be as current as I can be with the competition,” said Angie McKittrick, the manager of Hoyt Hanvey Jewelers.

The program will help pay for improvements to buildings and storefronts, like new awnings, windows and paint.

“We would like to update our paint. This is an older building, and so, the paint situation is something that we could use some help with, and maybe some windows, just to spiff it up,” said McKittrick.

Timmons said if approved for the grant, business owners can receive a 50-percent match for the cost of their projects. If the total project cost is $4,000, the owner will pay $2,000 and the program would award $2,000.

“It takes a little bit more pride in their businesses downtown, and the people that live around here will take a little bit more pride in their downtown,” said Timmons.

McKittrick said splitting the cost makes a difference for small businesses.

“We have a lot of expenses that go on and in the times that we’re living in, it’s hard to make it sometimes, so anything like that is helpful,” said McKittrick.

Timmons believes the upgrades will bring more people to shop, eat and enjoy downtown Clinton.

“The more welcoming, the more inviting the buildings look, will bring people into the downtown which also turns around and actually helps the businesses downtown,” said Timmons.

Grant applications open on Tuesday. Timmons said people will need to apply and be approved for the grant before starting any improvement work. Grants will be awarded in amounts up to $10,000.