Yankee Doodle Deli owner Marilyn Baker said the City’s application for emergency rent/mortgage business assistance was easy to fill out. (Photo provided)
Job-protection program: 8 approved, more on way
COVINGTON, Ky. - An emergency program to help small businesses in Covington pay rent or mortgages during the COVID-19 pandemic has already approved eight applications, with 18 more applications in the works and inquiries from at least five others.
The program was created by executive order by the City of Covington to help protect jobs during the state-ordered shutdown of bars, restaurant dining rooms and many retail and service-oriented businesses.
Originally, the City’s program was limited to restaurants, bars, and other hospitality businesses, but staff identified that personal service companies, gyms, and others were also hurting and expanded the program to include many other categories, Covington Economic Development Director Tom West said.
The City set aside $200,000 for the program out of its economic development fund, and with money left, all small businesses impacted by the pandemic are encouraged to look at the program and complete the simple application, West said.
“We understand the damage that having to close and remain closed has done to many of our small businesses, and while we hate to see businesses in the position of needing support, we are glad that so many are making the ‘ask’ and are doing what they can to survive,” he said.
“We’re hoping that the City’s assistance program - in addition to similar grants and loans being offered on the federal level - provide a type of life support to help keep our beloved restaurants, retailers, bars, and services going until they get the OK to reopen,” he added.
The City’s program - officially named the Emergency Disaster and Rent & Mortgage Business Assistance Program - offers businesses up to $500 a month for four months to pay up to half of their monthly mortgage or rent, whichever is less.
Among requirements for approval are that businesses work with the Kentucky Small Business Development Center on contingency planning and accessing federal disaster loans.
Marilyn Baker, who owns Yankee Doodle Deli, said the application takes very little time to fill out.
The company sells flavored gourmet pretzels - called Zels - to both wholesalers and retailers out of its facility on Scott Boulevard. Sales plummeted when many of her large accounts closed, and she pivoted her marketing to online sales.
“It means a lot to small businesses that the City has that kind of concern for our well-being,” Baker said. “The application itself is very simple, and the couple of questions I had, I got answered right away on the phone.”
Baker said she had previously worked with the Small Business Development Center, and the City’s requirement “reconnected me with a great resource.”
The applications approved so far:
- Zola Pub and Grill - up to $1,524 over four months.
- Kickstart Kitchen - up to $2,000 over four months.
- OKOTA LLC - up to $2,000 over four months.
- RCK Productions (RCK Pros) - up to $2,000 over four months.
- Rich’s Proper Food and Drink - up to $2,000 over four months.
- SODAM Inc. (Riverside Korean Restaurant) - up to $2,000 over four months.
- The Gadsden II LLC (Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar - up to $1,700 over four months.
- Twin Bistro & Catering LLC (The Gruff) - up to $2,000 over four months.
But that’s just a start. West said that the City had received 26 applications so far and approval for many of those is in various stages of completion, including that from Yankee Doodle Deli.
To add muscle and speed to the City’s response to the pandemic, Mayor Joe Meyer signed an executive order declaring a State of Emergency in Covington on March 19. The emergency assistance program was created in a later executive order and amended still later.
The application and guidelines for the program can be seen HERE
. Questions should be sent to Covington Economic Development Project Manager Ross Patten via email at firstname.lastname@example.org