SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The City of Scranton awarded financial aid to a local iconic business Monday and announced plans to provide up to $3 million to small business owners through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti was joined by State Representative Matt Cartwright, members from Senator Bob Casey’s Office, and the Scranton Area Community Foundation for Monday’s announcement to award Cooper’s Seafood House financial aid as the city plans for more small business grants.

“It’s a great time to be a small business owner in the City of Scranton. Our loan-to-grant program is helping business owners create job opportunities, and the American Rescue Plan Act allows us to add additional assistance to our community. The grants we’re announcing today will help businesses provide a living wage for their employees with a match from the City,” explained Scranton Mayor, Paige Cognetti.

Adding to the city’s already existing ARPA grants for small business startups and expansion funding, businesses open before March 3, 2021, can apply for two rounds of funding. The first round of applications for a total of $1 million will close on November 14. The second round of applications, with an additional $2 million available will continue through January 31, 2023.

Members of the city’s ARPA team will host a webinar on the grant opportunities on Friday, Oct. 28, at 12:00 p.m. Businesses can register by visiting their website.

Officals say the grants will give small businesses the chance to recover any losses caused by the pandemic. ARPA funds are also available for Scranton’s ‘wage boost’ grant program which provides up to $50K over two years to supplement employees’ wages.

Along with the ARPA funding, Cooper’s Seafood House was awarded a loan to grant from the city for $105K. The iconic restaurant has been owned and operated by the Cooper family since 1948 and as guidelines state, one full-time job must be created for every $35K borrowed. If every guideline is met the loan becomes a grant and repayment is no longer necessary.

Cooper’s used the loan-to-grant to install a new tiki bar in its lighthouse and to open its own brewery. A brewmaster and additional staff have already been hired through the program.

“We’re thrilled to be able to receive this money to put towards a great project. It was an easy process and everyone was so helpful,” said Cooper’s vice president and secretary, Paul Cooper.

“Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan to provide a lifeline to communities struggling in the pandemic. I’m pleased to see the City of Scranton is using its funds to invest in small businesses and workers in the community. These grants will lift the wages of workers and help businesses expand, which will strengthen northeastern Pennsylvania’s economy,” added Senator Casey.

Information about the City of Scranton’s ARPA plan can be found online, as well as details on the loan-to-grant program and other assistance programs.