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Merchant Assistance Grant

  1. North Miami Beach Community Redevelopment Agency










    Merchant Assistance Grant





    Effective August 17, 2022

    Merchant Assistance Grant


     Program Policies and Procedures



    1. Purpose

    The Merchant Assistance Grant is designed to assist merchants in increasing sales and long term stability through financial assistance and training and merchandising techniques. The incentive is limited to the following activities: rent, payroll and utility assistance (select only one for maximum of 50% of the grant), capital purchases, inventory assistance, re-merchandise an occupied space and evaluate and create a marketing strategy for the business, train restaurant and retail business operators in advertising, marketing, promotion, sales and service techniques and other related tools, and to stimulate sales for business retention purposes.


    Program Goals:

    • Create a more viable merchandise mix.
    • Provide interior renovations that have a substantial visual impact.
    • Provide training to merchants and their employees.
    • Increase sales of existing business to ensure viability and retention.
    • Attract additional business to the district by upgrading the existing businesses



    Commercial businesses (i.e. retail and restaurant) within the North Miami Beach Community Redevelopment Area are eligible to participate in this program. A map of CRA boundaries can be found at: Opportunities.



    1. General Provisions

    The funding assistance provided under the Merchant Assistance Grant is intended to be on a reimbursement basis. The CRA has the exclusive authority to determine funding distribution and to approve or deny Grant applications based on its determination as to the benefits to the North Miami Beach CRA District produced by requested projects.

    The CRA may impose any conditions of approval it deems suitable to protect the interests of the agency, including a duly executed contract.


    Business Criteria:


    • Must be an established restaurant, retail business or eligible business for a minimum of six months in a consecutive year in this location within the NMB CRA boundary.
    • Must be able to justify assistance through the financial growth of the business and its competitiveness in the marketplace.
    • Business owner will be required to complete an initial consultation with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC-FIU) to develop the most effective growth strategy and appropriation of grant funding.
    • Business owner should consider a retail consultant in merchandising, advertising, promotion and related training.


    • Business owner must continue to use materials provided including materials for display, visual representation of merchandise, and other instruments recommended by the consultant.
    • The Business must have an executed multi-year lease (2-year minimum or an option to renew lease) for the location in the eligibility area.
    • If the business is seeking payroll assistance, employees must be W-2, as defined by the CRA, whose wages are reported to the state and federal government. No more than one of the two required fulltime equivalent positions may be occupied either by an owner of the business receiving the grant, or by an employee who is related to an owner of the business receiving the grant.


    Applicants are encouraged to speak with CRA staff to discuss their project qualifications and eligibility for reimbursement under the Program before applying. The SBDC-FIU, in partnership with the CRA will make a final recommendation on the eligible expenses.


    Please be advised that non-profit organizations and tax-exempt properties are not eligible for incentive programs.



    1. Criteria Considered

    Criteria considered when reviewing applications include, but are not limited to:

    1. Compatibility with development plan(s) and guidelines, e.g. NMBCRA Redevelopment Plan;
    2. The use of the business;
    3. The applicant’s business or operational plan and financial stability;
    4. The visual impact of the interior of the space;
    5. The project’s likelihood of completion;
    6. The amount of private resources invested in the project;
    7. The beneficial impact the completion of the proposed project will have on their business and the impact on the attraction of new customers (increasing capacity).


    1. Eligible Expenses

    Merchant Assistance Grants must support the retention of existing businesses within the CRA by providing assistance to improve the aesthetics and sustainability of the business. These expenses include, but are not limited to:


    1. Rent/Payroll/Utility Expenses (Business may select one for a maximum of 50% of the total Grant Amount, not to exceed 12 months)
    2. Purchasing of capital equipment or Inventory
    3. Minor interior improvements: (e.g., Painting)
    4. Security cameras/equipment
    1. Marketing support
      1. Activities to be approved by CRA
    2. Signage


    1. Ineligible Businesses

    The following businesses will not be considered for funding by the Program:


    1. Businesses operating in this location less than six months;


    1. For payroll requests, businesses with no W-2 employee or report employee wages
    1. Any business that is a non-conforming use as determined by the City of North Miami Beach
    2. Office or Residential Uses


    1. Funding Guidelines

    Approved applicants may receive reimbursement for 50% of their eligible project costs, up to a maximum award of $25,000 per address.


    Program assistance is available based on a first-come, first-serve basis, according to project eligibility, application completeness and the availability of funds. There is no guarantee that funding will be available for every application submitted, including those that meet the required criteria. The CRA reserves the right to stipulate guidelines for reimbursement.


    1. Rental/Payroll/Utility subsidy guidelines:


    1. Rent/Payroll/Utility assistance may only be used (in total) for 50% of total CRA assistance (maximum $12,500) for a maximum of twelve(12) months.
    2. The responsibility for all rental payments is between the contracted parties to the lease, as such the tenant and the landlord. As grantor, the CRA neither bears nor accepts any responsibility for payment of rent at any time, nor penalties incurred for the late arrival of payments by any party.
    3. The CRA reserves the right discontinue payments at any time if in its sole and absolute discretion it determines that the business will not further the goals and objectives established for the economic development of CRA District. The receipt of past payments is not a guarantee of future subsidy payments.


    Assistance from the Merchant Assistance Grant, at the sole discretion of the CRA, may be combined with subsidies from other public or private programs. Assistance from other sources may serve as the CRA’s required matching funds although expenses covered under other CRA programs are not eligible. Funding for approved projects may be carried out from one fiscal year to the next at the sole discretion of the CRA.


    1. Application Checklist

    Every application package must include the following items before it will be processed and considered for approval:


    • Signed and completed application form
    • A narrative describing the business, its operations, and its business principles
    • Sketch or rendering of proposed improvements (if Physical)
    • Current digital photograph of existing property conditions
    • Narrative of the projected impact of the project on your business
    • City of North Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County business licenses
    • Confirmation that property is free of all county, municipal, liens and judgments
    • Copy of signed multi-year lease or copy of Warranty Deed showing ownership of the property by the business owner. Two years must be remaining on lease or an option to renew.


    • Tax return documents for the past two years
    • Articles of Incorporation from the State of Florida
    • Narrative description of entire project being undertaken
    • Three bids for any item cost of $3,000 or greater
    • Detailed budget for entire project including detailed breakdown of improvements or expenses for which reimbursement is being requested. NOTE: Changes to application and budget may be required after consultation.


    1. Application Processing Procedure

    The CRA will adhere to the following procedural steps when processing applications for assistance under the Merchant Assistance Grants. Applicants are free to discuss the application process with staff prior to submitting an application.


    1. Applicant completes application and submits it to CRA staff, along with completed checklist items.
    2. CRA staff reviews the submitted application package for eligibility and completeness.
    3. Applicant meets with SBDC for program review.
    4. CRA staff may bring eligible and complete application packages to the North Miami Beach CRA Redevelopment Advisory Board for input and recommendations for funding based on criteria outlined in Section III.
    5. CRA staff brings application packages that have received recommendations for funding to the CRA Board for approval.
    6. CRA staff provides a written notification to applicants of approval or denial of funding. If funding is denied, the reason(s) will be stated in the written notification.


    It is anticipated that application packages will be reviewed and presented to the North Miami Beach CRA Redevelopment Advisory Board within approximately 45 days after receipt by staff. Those applications receiving funding recommendations will be presented to the CRA Board for approval no later than the second CRA Board meeting following the CRA Advisory Board meeting at which the application received a recommendation for funding.



    1.       Commencement and Completion

    All work must be completed within 6 months of application approval. If work has not been completed within 6 months, funds will be put back into program account and reassigned to other projects.


    The Merchant Assistance Grants are contingent upon funding availability and CRA approval and are not to be construed as an entitlement or right of a property owner or applicant. Properties in the designated CRA areas are not eligible for CRA funded programs when such funding conflicts with the goals expressed in the CRA Strategic Finance Action Plan or Community Redevelopment Plan.






    I have read completely and understand the program, including the application guidelines and grant reimbursement process.






    Applicant Name




    Applicant Signature                                                             Date




    Property Owner Name



    Property Owner Signature (if different)                             Date





    Date of Application                                     




    1. Address of project requesting incentive:



    1. Name of Applicant: Address of Applicant:

    Phone:                                                            Fax:





    1. Does the applicant own property?                       Yes           No


    If “No” box is checked, describe applicant’s relationship to, or interest in the property receiving the improvement (indicate length of lease)?






    Indicate the legal owner of the property (i.e. name on property title)










    1. Project Narrative:


    1. Total Project Cost                             Total Funding Request 



    Authorized Representative







    Applicant Signature                                                  Property Owner Signature

    (If different) Signature authorizes participation in the program by applicant.










    Print Name                                                                 Print Name



    Please Note

    Property to be improved must be free of all municipal and county liens, judgments or encumbrances of any kind. This provision can be waived by the CRA Board of Commissioners if development plans for said property meets the goals and objectives as set forth in the CRA Strategic Finance Action Plan or CRA Plan. Upon grant approval, said property must remain free of all municipal and county liens, judgments or encumbrances of any kind under the terms of the agreement.

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