RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – “We’ve seen a lot of interest in coming to downtown.”

Those are the words from Downtown Raleigh Alliance Storefront Manager Roxanne Lundy while discussing growth and development in Downtown Raleigh.

Lundy said they are currently working to support business owners who are wanting to open a new business or expand their current business downtown.

“Support and recruitment of locally owned businesses in downtown is a strategic focus of Downtown Raleigh Alliance,” Lundy said.

Last year they were able to award nine businesses who applied for the DRA’s Storefront Upfit Grant.

After the program’s success, she said the organization was able to increase its funding to help even more businesses this year.

“With the success of that program, Downtown Raleigh Alliance was able to secure additional funds for this year, so this year we have $75,000 available in grant funds with an emphasis in supporting women and minority-owned businesses,” Lundy said.

She said the grant mainly supports local restaurants as well as retail and service businesses.

Lundy said the financial support helps with the extra costs that come with things like new construction, any upfit needs and one-time purchases.

Seth Hoffman, co-owner of the Raleigh Wine Shop in Downtown Raleigh, said they were one of the nine businesses to receive support from the grant program last year.

Hoffman said after operating for 10 years, they moved the business near Bloodworth Street and more than doubled their space.

“We want to really engage with our community even more than we did before,” he said.

Hoffman said through the expansion, they were able to add a wine bar program, a kitchen, and extra space for special events.

He said the support from the grant has supported local businesses like his and added, “I’m not sure we could have done it without their support. We have a vision of what we want to achieve, we know our business, but to have their support really got us over the finish line- I’m not sure we could have done it without them.”

Lundy said that they plan to review applications next week.