Match on Main grants awarded to local businesses

Published 5:00 pm Thursday, April 13, 2023

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN — A pair of local businesses have been named recipients of a statewide grant program supporting small local businesses to create resiliency and strengthen downtowns.

Niles’ Goodship Inc., and Cassopolis’ Ploughman’s Market and Deli were among 28 Michigan businesses awarded $25,000 through Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Match on Main grant program, according to a MEDC news release.

The Match on Main program provides funding to communities that participate as a select and master level community in the Michigan Main Street program or are considered an Essentials or Certified Redevelopment Ready Community. The communities, who receive the grant funding from the MEDC, in turn award grants of up to $25,000 to eligible businesses seeking support.

“Michigan’s small businesses define our downtowns, and with today’s Match on Main grants, we are supporting small businesses in both peninsulas,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Together, we are going to make communities across Michigan more attractive places for families to live and work and for businesses to grow and invest. Let’s keep our foot on the accelerator as we grow our economy, support good-paying jobs, and build thriving towns across Michigan.”

Ploughman’s Market and Deli will use grant funds for interior building renovations and the creation of an outdoor dining area, which enable the new restaurant to open its doors. Located on the corner of Broadway and Reed Streets in Cassopolis, Ploughman’s will offer artisan breads – with sourdough as its specialty – pastries, a full service deli case with specialty meats, cheeses, hot sandwiches, and grab-n-go entrées. It will have a large selection of brats, jerky, snack sticks and Dearborn brand products as well as a selection of old fashioned candy and culinary gifts. The restaurant is aiming to open Memorial Day weekend.

Goodship Inc. will use its grant funds for interior building improvements that will allow it to open a flagship location for its guitar strap manufacturing business, Souldier, to be located on the 200 block of North 4th Street in the Star Building. 

Goodship Inc. purchased the building from Leader Publications, 217 N. 4th St., in October 2022. Built in 1926, the 35,291 square-foot building is currently home to Leader Publications, Off Main Street Salon and Shelf Life Community Bookstore.

Founded in 2005 in Chicago, Souldier produces custom goods including fretted instrument straps, dog and cat collars, saddle straps, purses and more using primarily upcycled materials. The flagship store will sell those items, house a vintage guitar shop and will also have space to provide music lessons to community members. In addition, Tabor said Goodship Inc. will also be moving the Good For Your Soul Foundation, its nonprofit aiming to promote music and art activities for Berrien County youth and teens, into the building.

Souldier has reached an international audience, with recording artists like Chris Stapleton, Taylor Swift, Tom Petty and Panic! At The Disco sporting the brand.

“I’m ecstatic,” said founder Jen Tabor. “It allows us to activate spaces sooner and add to the community. We hope to have projects up and running by the summer. We’re able to do a lot with the $25,000.”

According to Tabor, the grant funds allow Goodship Inc. to retain the Star Building’s current tenants, thus supporting local businesses. “Nobody is left out. We get to keep all of the businesses,” she said. “Everyone is getting a fresh new space, we’re using local contractors, we’re bringing in music and classrooms. Reinvesting into the community is very important to us.”