There could soon be a new option for your car's license plate that will help support small businesses in Alabama.
WAAY 31 is connecting North Alabama by showing the push of the nonprofit organization, Main Street Alabama, to launch the "Shop Local, Support Small" license plate and how it will fund grants for struggling small businesses.
A building housing several small businesses in Limestone County would have been demolished years back if it weren't for Athens Main Street. The nonprofit organization and Main Street Alabama partner saw its potential for small businesses.
The owner of Boutique Bliss, Brandi Griffin, told WAAY 31 that it allowed her dreams of owning her own boutique to become a reality. She said the grants from the license plate initiative will do that for many others as well.
“This is a dream come true. When I say I’m going to work, it doesn’t seem right, because I love it so much," Griffin said. "It’s not work to me at all.”
Griffin runs Boutique Bliss by The Square in Athens. She's been in business for nearly three years and hopes Main Street Alabama's new initiative will provide grant money to help improve her business.
“Covid has really hurt some businesses," she said. "I think that this would be a great time for that to help them in any way.”
Mark Stahl, owner of Das Stahl Bierhaus in Huntsville, agrees the anticipated grant amount of $500 would help him.
“Any little bit and every little bit helps," he said. “Continuous improvement is sort of our shtick here. Any opportunity I get to put money back into the business and replace weather-beaten tabletops, wooden tabletops, with concrete tabletops is an example of that.”
Griffin is like Stahl and would use the grant money to improve the aesthetics and curbside appeal of her business.
“We had talked about getting a new sign that would light up, maybe work on the website some, marketing — that would help tremendously," Griffin said.
The "Shop Local, Support Small" license plates are not in production yet. Main Street Alabama needs at least 250 pre-orders before they can start. To learn more about the initiative, click here. To pre-order a license plate, click here.