Food truck grant from state boosts local business

It can be tough to run a small business and sometimes a little assistance will go a long way.

This was the case recently when Mike Walker received a grant to help boost his business – Dia de Los Tacos.

Walker’s mobile food truck business is one of the first of its kind in the Marquette area and can be visited at various locations around town, particularly in the downtown area on weekend nights.

The $7,775 grant he received was from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s Mobile Cuisine Start-up Program that aims to boost the food truck industry across the state.

Walker said the funds will come in real handy because the used truck he bought to set up his traveling taco stand is in need of repairs, including replacing the engine.

The MEDC program provides one-time grants of up to $10,000 to new food truck businesses or to help existing businesses expand. The grant requires at least a 25 percent match by the business, which Dia de Los Tacos won’t have a problem attaining seeing Walker said he will invest about $12,000 besides the grant funds in his operation.

There were 65 applicants for grants totaling $601,372 being requested under the MEDC program, with Dia de Los Tacos being the only operation in the Upper Peninsula to receive one. There were seven other food truck businesses downstate that received grants, with a total of $77,775 being awarded.

The MEDC said the grants were intended to assist with community and economic development by increasing pedestrian traffic in downtowns and traditional commercial cores, so it was certainly appropriate to award one to Dia de Los Tacos.

Walker filed his application with assistance from the Lake Superior Partnership, and having the application be a success shines a little light on that organization, as well.

In challenging economic times it’s promising to see small businesses such as Dia de Los Tacos making a go of it, as well as having the state kick in a little money to give them a boost.