While many people wait till spring to renovate, several downtown businesses have gotten a jump on things for one major reason. 

That’s because of grants provided by the Wharton Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). The most recent businessman to reap these benefits is Brian Bremser for Bremser Insurance and Cuevas Mexican Restaurant.

WEDCO Executive Assistant Karen Heintschel said seven of these grants had been approved for 2019, which was equal to the number of grants for 2017 and 2018 together. 

Grants have ranged from as low as $500 to as much as $10,000. There is a caveat associated with the grants. The project must be completed and paid receipts provided prior to payment of grants.

Jesus Martinez and his daughter Patty Moreno have been a big part of these projects because their family owned company, Martinez Painting, has provided renovations for at least four of these buildings. They and their crew do much more than paint. They scrape away the old paint, fill in holes in brick or concrete, and wash the primer. Martinez himself has added carpentry, roofing, and remodeling to his repertoire.

As they work, they can’t help but notice how passers by react to them.

“We have had people take pictures from across the street at the coffee shop, take pictures as they were at the light or driving by or simply walking by while we worked and look at what we were doing, and tell us it looked great which was a great feeling,” Martinez said.

Martinez takes great pride in his work. 

“My business, my reputation and my work are important,” he said. “My challenge is for others to know me, my work and my business. All my clients are important and a priority.”

Although many of these projects that Martinez Painting have been located on the downtown square, several other locations have been approved, including businesses on Polk Street, West Caney, and Richmond Road. 

Moreno said the paint jobs, depending on the building and what all needs to be done, can range from $5,000 to $18,000.

Chad Odom, who is WEDC’s executive director, said the entity he is associated with recognizes the value in Wharton’s historic downtown buildings.

He said it is “a unique factor that contributes significantly to our community identity. We are pleased to have a mechanism in place to facilitate the upkeep and restoration of our valuable historic buildings located downtown.”

He said the condition of downtown is of vital importance, indicating to potential businesses and investors the vibrance of the community.  

For more information about grant guidelines, contact WEDC at 979-532-0999.

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