Six incentive recipients a diverse list

Maki Mono, a specialty Japanese sushi and sake restaurant at 715 Madison Ave., was approved for a rent subsidy through the City's Small Business Incentive Program.

Next deadline to apply for Small Business help is Friday

COVINGTON, Ky. – A Japanese sushi and sake restaurant. A local photographer. A 3D design business. A legacy furniture restoration business. A new headquarters. A new bookstore. These six businesses that will benefit from recently approved incentives under the City of Covington’s Small Business Incentive Program align with the Economic Development Department’s credo that businesses throughout The Cov are “all character.”

“The latest round of Small Business Incentive recipients continues to highlight the diversity of businesses we have in all of Covington,” Economic Development Assistant Director Sarah Allan said. “From façade improvement on one of the most prominent commercial structures in Latonia to a rent subsidy for a Japanese sake/sushi bar in the Central Business District, the City believes that supporting our businesses in multiple ways is what makes our business community the strongest.”

Earlier this month, the Covington Board of Commissioners approved $35,100 in program funding to benefit the six projects in the program’s first round of funding this fiscal year. The program sets aside $150,000 a year to help businesses with first-year rent and commercial property owners upgrade their exteriors.

Three businesses will receive rent subsidies:


  • Jennifer Lynn Pictures: For years, local photographer Jennifer Blackburn had her eye on relocating to Covington. The City’s Economic Development team directed her to a location at 264 W. Pike St., in the Central Business District, where she’ll share space with other local creatives. The City approved a $6,000 rent subsidy.


  • AlloyFX: After 11 years in Cincinnati, this successful 3D design business moved to Covington’s Central Business District at 621 Scott St. AlloyFX estimates a new payroll of $280,000 during its first year in Covington. The business adds to the city’s “Made in The Cov” large sector business and will receive a $5,100 rent subsidy.


  • Maki Mono: The specialty Japanese sushi and sake restaurant at 715 Madison Ave. in the Central Business District intends to expand sales by 15 percent in the next year and to hire four employees, with an emphasis on hiring Covington residents. It received a $6,000 rent subsidy.

And owners of three commercial buildings will receive $6,000 forgivable loans to help pay for larger façade improvement projects:


  • 3414 Decoursey Ave.: Approved façade incentive funds will help pay for the $15,510 façade project update to the building that houses the Restoration Society, a prominent legacy business in Latonia. The work includes paint, refurbished awning, and new doors.


  • 315 E. 15th St.: Façade incentive funds will help cover a $22,860 façade project at M&M Mid Valley Service and Supply, updating the building’s tuck-pointing, lighting, and the replacement and painting of rotted wood. The improvements will complement the rest of the newly renovated building, which has high visibility in the City’s Eastern Corridor.


  • 410 Pike St.: A $13,950 façade project will greatly improve the appearance of the building that’s occupied by Conveyor Belt Books in the city’s MainStrasse area.

“The incentive is very helpful to us as we are just a baby taking learning lessons from the ever-vibrant and growing city of Covington,” said Alan Lau, owner of Maki Mono. “It will help with improvement work on the outside façade, provide uniforms for our employees, and help us keep our prices competitive with the ever-increasing food costs.”

To apply

Businesses that are interested in applying for either the façade or rent assistance should contact Sarah Allan at (859) 292-2144 or

The application deadline for the next round of funding is Friday, Sept. 30. Applications and guidelines for the programs can be found on the City’s website at INCENTIVES .

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for our COV businesses, and we think this creative, flexible approach sets us apart from other municipalities,” Allan said. “Our staff would love to hear how we can best support your small business, so please reach out!”

About the program

In 2021, the program received an award from the International Economic Development Council, the world’s largest council of development professionals.

Among the more than 100 projects in Covington helped by the program since its inception in 2017 are 35 businesses owned by minorities, women, and/or military veterans.


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