RALEIGH, N.C. — Organizations across the state, like the Downtown Raleigh Alliance and Charlotte Center City Partners, are doing their best to drive and promote new businesses to their area. 

One way they’re hoping to do this is by providing grant funding to small and minority business owners.

What You Need To Know

  • Raleigh Private Showroom is both a clothing boutique and art gallery

  • Residents can rent out space for an event

  • Eligible entrepreneurs have until Feb. 1 to apply for Upfit grant

Nine downtown Raleigh businesses were awarded with a grant to better their businesses with the hope of attracting more new businesses to the area as well.  

William Wynne of Rolley Private Showroom owns one of these businesses.

“I thought it would be a good place to do the business here. Seeing Raleigh being a growing city, and there's nothing like a designer clothing store as well as an art gallery in the city,” Wynne said. 

Originally from Atlanta, Wynne says he traded his peach for an acorn back in 2016 when he came to Raleigh to train for track and field in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. 

Although he didn’t make the team and the pandemic hit, that didn’t discourage him from wanting to stay in Raleigh. 

Wynne felt that if he wasn’t going to plant his feet on the racetrack in Raleigh, he wanted to plant his roots in downtown by opening a business. 

It showcases high-end designer brands like Gucci and Fendi but also many local artists and designers.

“This is Meredith Howe, Marina Flair, Mason de la Flair. She handmade this jacket,” Wynne explained.

As a first-time business owner, he wanted to do things right and pay homage to the city that welcomed him.

“Although it's spelled differently, it is based off of the city,” Wynne said.

But he knew to achieve his goal, he would need a little help throughout the process. 

The Downtown Raleigh Alliance is offering minority and women entrepreneurs a helping hand through the Storefront Upfit Grant. 

The organization set aside nearly $90,000 for the program and distributed it to nine downtown businesses.

“This whole place was a blank slate,” Wynne said. “We had fitting rooms put in. We had two racks that also are light fixtures for events. And then, we're getting a sign put on the outside.”

Wynne says the grant money helped uplift his business, and he will pay it forward by using his business to continue to help others. 

“They are doing the right thing and taking the right steps, trying to help the right people in the right businesses,” Wynne said. 

Anyone interested in applying for the Storefront Upfit Grant must submit an application and supporting documents by Feb. 1. 

In Charlotte, the Small Business Innovation Fund is like the Storefront Upfit Grant. This will open later this year. You can find more information by clicking this link.