Businesses need votes for grant

Three Upshur County businesses are competing for a chance to win a $250,000 Mission Main Street grant from Chase.

It’s not too late to vote for the three businesses, and each of them could win one of 12 grants through the competition. The Market Bistro, Fish Hawk Acres and Nerducopia of Upshur County could use votes from community members to help them qualify for the grant.

To qualify, businesses that applied must gather a minimum of 250 votes using social media. It’s not too late to cast a supportive vote for one or all of the businesses, but the voting ends on Thursday. Voting requires a Facebook account.

Fish Hawk Acres, the Market Bistro and Nerducopia all are competing for the opportunity to win the grant money for their businesses, but the Market Bistro still has a long way to go to get the minimum votes required for consideration of the grant.

“We invest an awful lot into the community,” Market Bistro co-owner Annie Alborano said. “It would be nice to be able to breath if we had that extra money and maybe even possibly do some more things in the community.”

The Market Bistro is a small family-owned restaurant on North Kanawha Street in Buckhannon that often serves meals with locally grown goods. Alborono said she wasn’t sure that the Market Bistro would make it to the next stage in the application process. The Market Bistro only had 24 votes as of Tuesday afternoon.

“We’ll just keep on plugging along like we’re doing because we love what we do,” Alborono said.

Fish Hawk Acres and Nerducopia, as of Monday, already had secured more than the 250 minimum votes required to be considered for the grant. Fish Hawk Acres is a farm, market and catering business in Rock Cave.

“It was a relief,” Chef Dale Hawkins said about realizing his business had enough votes to qualify. “This (competition) is different than a lot of the ones where people can vote over and over again. You’re only allowed one vote.”

If Fish Hawk Acres is awarded grant money, Hawkins said he would invest in innovative processing and inventory and logistics technology. The technology could decrease the business’s overall aggregating and distributing costs, Hawkins said. The grant funding also would be used to increase the inventory.

Nerducopia is a hobby store on Main Street in Buckhannon centered around popular culture and comic books. T

he venue brings community members together with various in-store hobby card game and video game tournaments.

After the voting closes, a panel of affiliates with Chase will deliberate the applications of those who met the requirements, according to the company website. In January, 12 grants will be awarded. Voting for all three of the local businesses could help each one receive grant money. Votes can be cast for more than one business.

To vote, visit the grant website at and type the name of the business for which you wish to vote.