The village of Riverside’s campaign to aid downtown business and property owners spruce up their storefronts celebrated its first success on Nov. 14 when officials from the village, business and chamber of commerce gathered to christen the newly refurbished Riverside Foods, 48 E. Burlington St.

The business was the first to take advantage of the village’s Façade Improvement Grant Program, which offers business and property owners reimbursement for half of the project cost up to a maximum of $5,000 per project. 

Individual businesses are eligible to receive a lifetime maximum grant amount of $10,000, and businesses must contribute at least $500 for a façade improvement project to be eligible.

In the case of Riverside Foods, the most pronounced change is the color of the building. The grocery store went from being a white box to a cooler sage green. Repairs were made to the stucco exterior and a row of gooseneck lamps now illuminate the front sign – individual plastic letters that spell out the business’ name — which has been changed in color from red to white.

“The goal was never for a flashy, brand new front,” said co-owner Peter Boutsikakis. “We really wanted just to put a fresh face on the Riverside Foods that’s been here for 37 years now.”

Boutsikakis initially planned on changing out the sign on the front of the business from plastic lettering to brushed aluminum letters. However, he said that might not be happening; he likes the white letters on the façade now, a suggestion by a customer.

“We may not be coming back for new signage,” he said. “I’m happy with the white letters.”

The work done in the past few weeks was estimated to cost about $13,000, leaving the village to reimburse Riverside Foods the $5,000 maximum allowed per project.

Second façade application approved

Meanwhile, the Riverside Economic Development Commission on Nov. 9 voted to approve a facade improvement grant to another Riverside property owner.

Charles Pipal, a Riverside resident and owner of a commercial property on East Quincy Street in the downtown area, applied for reimbursement for the installation of four new double-pane storefront windows and to replace wood trim on the front of the Quincy Street Distillery, 39 E. Quincy St.

The roughly 7-by-3-foot windows are going to be the same size as the ones that currently exist there, and are meant to be more energy efficient and make it more comfortable for customers, according to a memo provided to members of the Economic Development Commission.

The entire cost of the project is estimated to be about $4,100, meaning Pipal would be reimbursed a little more than $2,000 for the improvement.