EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The city of Edinburg is ensuring local businesses thrive throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by launching a new version of the Stimulus Program Aimed at Recovery from COVID-19 (SPARC) program.

The program initially launched in 2020 provided financial assistance to local businesses in an effort to sustain themselves while the pandemic affected sales.

Maryann Piñón, the owner of Grind Coffee Company, was the recipient of the assistance provided by the city of Edinburg and was able to pivot through the pandemic by purchasing supplies to keep her business operating.

“We were able to keep a good stock of inventory throughout the pandemic and not have to worry about running out especially with the supply shortages that were happening throughout that time,” she said.

Piñón said in addition to inventory, she was also able to purchase equipment for her establishment.

 “We were able to use that money to invest into creating a catering program for our business and also adding a new roaster into our lineup,” she said.

The new roaster and other equipment allowed her to produce, sell, and ship her coffee throughout the Rio Grande Valley and further.

Blanca Davila, the director of economic development for the city of Edinburg explained that the programs are funded through federal funds.

“This program started back in 2020 right in the middle of the pandemic when our city manager and our assistant city manager announced that we received some monies from the CARES Act to support the small businesses in the city,” she said.

Davila explained that funds remained from the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act which are being used to help local businesses through the new version of the program, SPARC 4.0.

“There are some different types of business that are based out of their home, so we wanted to go ahead and lift those businesses up as well,” she said.

Home-based businesses are required to be within the Edinburg city limits and show proof of self-employment to qualify for a $2,000 grant.

Davila said businesses with storefronts can qualify for a $10,000 façade reimbursement, through the program.

“Businesses have an opportunity to buy a new sign if that’s what they need, restore the façade of their business, do minor repairs, and ensure that they increase traffic because they have beautified their business from the outside,” said Davila.

The program is open for applications until funds are depleted, according to Davila.

“We’re constantly thinking about innovative ways to support them and keep sharing their stories because that’s how we manage to support them in different types of programs that we can create here at the city of Edinburg,” she said.

For more information on the SPARC program, you can visit the City of Edinburg’s website.