Montgomery NY relief program helps local businesses in need

TOWN OF MONTGOMERY- Marie Burger-Zaccagnino said she was grateful for a grant through the town’s…

TOWN OF MONTGOMERY- Marie Burger-Zaccagnino said she was grateful for a grant through the town’s business relief program, which paid off her outstanding rents and bills, and helped her business bounce back amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“If it wasn’t for that grant, I would be closed now,” Burger-Zaccagnino of Walden repeated several times during an interview. 

Ten years ago, Burger-Zaccagnino, 71, started Tickled Pink, a post-mastectomy store to help cancer survivors. Over the years, her business barely makes ends meet and does not make enough money to hire staff. The fact of not generating any payroll does not qualify her business for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, a loan that helps small businesses get through the pandemic.  

The grant she received is a portion of a $82,000 fund that the town’s community response team has recently allocated to 47 local businesses hit by the pandemic. The program was made possible through community donations since it was launched in April. 

Theresa Reggero, Marie's daughter,  fixes products in the store window of Tickled Pink in Walden.

It awarded cash grants in the form of direct payment to creditors and vendors to small businesses, which supported them to stay open, remain current on rent, inventory and utilities.  

Victor Marrero, co-owner of VIP Barbershop in the Village of Walden, is among the business owners who have benefited from the grant. He said the grant came at a perfect time and is very helpful for his business to get back to normal. While the appointment volume is a bit down than normal out of safety fears, he hopes more clients will start to come back so the business can remain sustainable.