Starting it here: Mama Gracie’s Pregnancy Shop & Spa chosen winner in Princeton’s It Starts Here Program

A new business that supports pregnant women has been chosen as the newest winner  in Princeton’s It  Starts Here program that awards a $10,000 prize as an incentive for a business to locate or expand in the central part of the downtown.
Princeton Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Karen Michels said that the Princeton Economic Development Authority last Thursday chose Faith Goenner’s business, Mama Gracie’s Pregnancy Shop & Spa as the recipient of the latest It Starts Here $10,000 award. Michels said it is a new business.
The city, about two years ago, appropriated $30,000 to be used as three prizes of $10,000 each to entice businesses to either locate or expand in a six-block area of the downtown. Central Minnesota Art Co-op was the winner two years ago to receive the first $10,000 prize. When a second round to offer the other two $10,000 prizes opened up for applications, only one application was submitted, and that was for Mama Gracie’s Pregnancy Shop & Spa.
A panel of local business people Eric Zebrowski, Collin Orth, Curt Van Oort, and Princeton Community Development Director Jolene Foss reviewed Goenner’s application presentation and recommended that the EDA approve Mama Gracie’s Pregnancy Shop & Spa to receive one of the $10,000 prizes. The EDA concurred.
Michels spoke enthusiastically about Goenner, calling her a “huge supporter of Princeton.” She added, “If you gave her a pompom, she could be a Princeton cheerleader.”
Michels said that Goenner would be locating her business in a vacant spot on the south side of First Street near Minuteman Press.
There are conditions that go with the $10,000 prize, and Michels said the city will be negotiating the exact terms of those. Michels said she expects that it will include a requirement that Mama Gracie’s Pregnancy Shop & Spa would have to continue operating in downtown Princeton for five years.
The city and chamber of commerce started the It Starts Here program after the number of vacancies in downtown Princeton had risen considerably during the Great Recession that began in about 2008. The Union-Eagle was unable to contact Goenner prior to publication.