WHEELING, W.Va. — Business owners know first impressions are everything -- you've got one shot to get it right.

That's why the city of Wheeling wants to help.

Through congressionally directed spending, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito is seeing to it that the Friendly City receives $500,000 for its popular Facade Improvement Program.

“As cities like Wheeling continue to grow, it’s important that we make the necessary investments, in partnership with private sector investment, to accommodate the economic and local needs of the community,” Capito said. “I am proud to secure this funding that will directly support Wheeling’s economic development goals that play a key role in moving our state forward.”

The program allows up to $15,000 in funding for business-front facelifts across the city.

"New windows, new facades, even new roofs, it's a massive grant, it's a very generous program that has been taken advantage of by so many projects right about the us footprint," Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott said.

The program started 5 years ago, and many have exploited it, including Sarah's on Main, the Laconia Building at 12th and Market, and the Fort Henry Club, which just recently finished its upgrades.

“We used the funds to help restore the stones because it was falling away from the building, we used it to help replace some of the handrails that you see in front of the building, and we used it to help replace the wood columns that are in front. It’s made a huge difference," said Christina Shessler, senior architect, McKinley Architecture and Engineering.

The program is open to every kind of business -- big or small.

"Even if the business isn't doing great right now, you make an investment in that facade, it brings new attention to that building, it brings up everybody's property values,” Elliott said. “And it's just a win-win."

And now is the time to do it, as the rest of Wheeling is also under construction -- one step closer to its revitalization.

"It’s an investment in itself, the way the city looks and feels," Elliott said. “It's been a great successful program. We want to see it continue going forward."