Making connections is a key part of Jen Finkelstein’s business. As co-owner of REPCO Services, LLC, she and her partner Jason Thier oversee a team whose job it is to make connections—in this case, with buyers and sellers of recycled materials. Finkelstein made a very important connection recently when REPCO encountered a construction problem while renovating newly acquired commercial property on southbound Federal Highway in downtown Delray Beach. She linked up with the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and eventually received a grant that is helping REPCO complete its corporate relocation from Lantana to Delray Beach. Here’s the backstory. REPCO’s property at 347 NE 5th Avenue consists of a two-story structure facing the avenue, a one-story building to the rear, and a small parking lot. Property renovations were just starting when REPCO learned that in order to comply with current building codes, the roof of the one-story building would have to be replaced. It was an unforeseen, unbudgeted expense. “That’s when Jen approached the CRA about getting a Site Development Assistance Grant,” said CRA Marketing and Grants Manager Elizabeth Burrows.
The CRA’s Site Development Assistance Program offers a partial reimbursement for the cost of a variety of exterior improvements to commercial properties in the CRA District. It is one of the CRA’s many economic development grant and incentive programs designed to encourage business expansion, enhance the tax base, and foster job creation. “The Site Development Assistance Program is the most practical program we offer,” Burrows said. “It can help out a business with almost any type of exterior renovation expense they have, no matter how large and complicated it may be. These grant funds help businesses make their dollars go farther.” Under the program, REPCO could request reimbursement for 25% of the eligible costs of its remaining exterior improvements, including that new roof, up to $23,900. Construction was halted until the CRA Board approved the company’s grant application, and then resumed in early March. Finkelstein is grateful for the financial assistance and excited about finishing the project. She said REPCO has been operating out of rented commercial space near I-95 in Lantana since the company was founded in 2007.
“We are now more than doubling our space, and we’re in a wonderful part of town, just three and a half blocks from Atlantic Avenue,” she said. “We’re in a happening, youthful, growing area. It’s great to see how Delray is constantly improving.” In fact, REPCO is an example of one types of business the CRA has been actively recruiting to Delray: a professional office with a green industry focus. Besides brokering recycled plastic, cardboard and metal—which helps to keep these materials out of the waste stream—REPCO sells heavy-duty recycling equipment and reusable packaging for shipping recycled materials. Their customers are located throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and abroad. Once REPCO moves into its new Delray Beach corporate headquarters, Finkelstein and Thier hope to upgrade their computer database system and expand their staff of seven within the next year or so. “It’s a good industry, it’s a smart industry, and it’s the way of the future,” Finkelstein said. “We plan to stick around for a long time.” Paula Detwiller writes professionally for the CRA and other clients. Her website/blog can be found at www.pdwrites.com.