STOCKTON (CBS13) — Small-business owners could get new incentives to spruce up their storefronts in the city of Stockton.

Stockton is proposing paying $2,000 to small-business owners who make upgrades to their store exteriors. The upgrades could include new signage, windows, lighting, paint or awnings.

Stockton’s pilot program would be capped at $25,000 in the first year.

Tim Otto is the owner of a small business in Stockton called Mr. Otto’s Bookstore. He admits his store has not attracted the attention he’d like.

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“People should drive by and notice, I still get people saying ‘how long have you been here? I’ve never seen you here before?’ I’ve been here for five years,” Otto said.

The retired teacher is more of a bookworm. Now Otto could be eligible for $2,000 in city funds to help rehab his storefront. And get more business.

“It’s a lot of money to me,” Otto said. “It’s a lot of money to me.”

Micah Runner is the Stockton economic development director.

“Well really it’s all about the beautification of the building and really being an attractive place to look at,” Runner said.

The pilot program will be first come first serve.

“It symbolizes that they know we’re here,” Otto said. “The city knows we’re here.”

Now Mister Otto’s Bookstore may soon benefit.

“The problem is not enough money, everything costs too much and nobody has any money to spend on stuff,” Otto said.

A Stockton boost for small business. Could it lead to a new chapter in Stockton small business success?

Some businesses would be ineligible for the storefront money, including car dealerships, national chains, and card rooms.

The Stockton City Council will vote on the proposed storefront plan next week.