City Issues Seven Small Business Program Incentive Grants to New & Existing Businesses

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COVINGTON, KY – On Tuesday evening, the Board of Commissioners authorized the issuance of seven rent subsidy and façade improvement incentive grants to new and existing businesses throughout Covington thanks to its Small Business Program.

Throughout fiscal year 2017-2018, the City has budgeted $72,000 for the Covington Small Business Program to provide approximately 12 rent subsidy or façade improvement grants to Covington businesses.

Each of the seven businesses were recommended by the City’s Loan Committee and are expected to create over 42 jobs in total, leveraging an average 7:1 ratio of private-to public investment.

Economic Development Specialist Ross Patten stated, “This program is absolutely critical to supporting the health of our small business community, filling vacant spaces, and restoring the historic fabric of our neighborhoods. We are thrilled with the results thus far.”

Below is an overview of the Small Business Program incentive grant recipients:

  1. Chako’s Bakery Cafe: Located at 212 W. Pike Street, owner Hisako Okawa’s vision is to bring a bakery to Covington focused on using hand-made and natural baking processes all the while incorporating Japanese ingredients and fresh local produce.
  2. Chops, Cheese & Chives: Located at 420 Madison Avenue, Charlotte Rayne took over the management, restoration and rebranding of Economy Meats in 2016. The butcher/deli shop will soon offer a greater selection of convenient, healthy and locally produced items.
  3. Flying Axes: The business is expanding from their first location in Louisville, KY and will open in Covington at 100 W. 6th Street. Flying Axes is a business where customers compete by throwing axes at a target. The business will also generate revenue through beer and merchandise sales.
  4. Grainwell Market: An existing and rapidly growing Covington business, Grainwell Market will open a new boutique displaying all current wood-centric Grainwell products as well as additional brand merchandise. Located at 22 W. Pike Street, the company’s second location will serve as a one stop shop for gifts and home décor in the Covington area.
  5. Moonrise Doughnuts: Located at 3718 Winston Avenue in Ritte’s Corner, Moonrise Doughnuts will offer fresh doughnuts made on site, along with locally roasted gourmet coffees both of which will offered during evening/night hours. The store will open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and will offer both carry out and dine in options.
  6. Olde Towne Tavern: Owners Tom Yucha and Dustin Hooks will be investing in the building’s façade and plan to expand their business into the second floor, add outdoor seating and become a smoke-free establishment. Old Towne Tavern is located at 35 W. Pike Street.
  7. Smoke Justis: Building off of the success of Smoke Justis, the property owner and restaurant owner are building out an event space and office space on the building’s second floor, while making several exterior improvements. Smoke Justis is located at 302 Court Street.

The Small Business Program’s mission is designed to stimulate the establishment of new Covington businesses and help existing Covington businesses expand.

This competitive program awards funding to projects that support small business growth, create jobs, leverage private investment, and that are anticipated to be catalytic for the community through rent subsidy and façade improvement grants.

The City’s rent subsidy program can provide up to $500/month to keep a business’ rent affordable while it is building up operations, providing 12 months of affordable rent to Covington business owners.

The façade improvement program offers new and existing businesses a 50/50 matching grant, up to $6,000, in order to update the building’s façade. The grant provides funding for business owners to update signage, lighting, windows, and other exterior building improvements.

For those interested in applying for the City’s Small Business Program, please visit the City’s website by clicking here for more information.