‘The possibilities in Covington to grow a business are infinite’
COVINGTON, Ky. – An ancient health care practice that provides continuous emotional and informational support to women before, during, and after childbirth, and a building that housed a mid-1800s pharmacy as well as the Covington Masons were among six businesses given financial help Tuesday by the Covington Board of Commissioners.
The Commission approved three rent-subsidy and three façade-improvement incentives through the City’s internationally recognized Small Business Program.
The incentives came during the fourth round of funding this fiscal year under the program, which sets aside $150,000 a year in three areas -- helping fledgling businesses with first-year rent and commercial property owners upgrade their exteriors or restore an historic electric business sign.
“This is the fifth round of Small Business Incentives I’ve worked on since starting my position last March, and the variety of businesses and buildings never ceases to impress me,” said Covington Assistant Economic Development Director Sarah Allan. “This round is no different, with recipients ranging from a burgeoning health-related business that supports new parents to the reimagining of a building that was historically home to a Masonic Lodge. The possibilities in Covington to grow a business are infinite.”
Tuesday night’s awards:
- $5,070 to Doulas of Cincinnati, a woman-owned unique health-related business providing services to pregnant women that has a regional growing market share. The business aligns with the City’s target sector of “A Healthier You.”
- $6,000 to Rivertown Vintage at 2 W. Pike Street, a woman-owned vintage clothing store that focuses on men’s clothing, located in the Central Business District.
- $6,000 to Skoolaid LLC, a unique educational business at 800 Church St. in Latonia that focuses on increasing the physical health, mental well-being, and independence of children and seniors, along with spreading knowledge of kindness through its disability awareness presentations.
- $6,000 to Covington 6th Street COA toward a $26,700 façade project at 201-203 W. 6th St. that will include painting, windows, lighting, and tuckpointing. The building is in the Old Town/Mutter Gottes neighborhood.
- $6,000 to Felicity Properties LLC toward a $13,860 façade project at 404 W. Pike St. that will include painting. The building is in MainStrasse Village.
- $6,000 to Covington Commandery LLC toward $63,959 in exterior improvements at 401 Scott St. that will include painting, windows, lighting, and rebuilding of the storefront. The building is in the Central Business District.
Orleans Development owner Tony Kreutzjans said the façade grant funds are “essential” to the restoration of the building on Scott Street, which has a long and varied history in Covington.
“401 Scott has been underutilized for decades,” Kreutzjans said. “It’s a cornerstone building in the Scott Street corridor, and we’re excited to breathe some life into it. Restoring the storefront to its original height and design will be transformational. The City’s façade grant is essential to this piece of the project.”
The building was constructed in 1865 by Charles Fechter, a druggist/pharmacist during his lifetime. Kreutzjans said later deeds label the building as “Fecter’s Corner,” with the first floor occupied by Fechter’s drug store and the upper floors occupied by the Covington Masons. For more than 100 years – from 1865 through the mid-1970s – the first floor remained a pharmacy. The faint remains of the word “Pharmacy” is on the storefront’s upper transom, and an intact shower room is on the third floor, which was once a gym. The Center for Great Neighborhoods occupied the second-floor offices during the late ‘70s.
“We also discovered it was an art gallery in the ‘90s. It truly had a myriad of uses,” said Kreutzjans. “I think we have all passed this building a thousand times, but next time you are on foot, notice all of the Masonic symbols that are in the center of the stone trim on the upper floor windows. It was one of my favorite discoveries of the building.”
Businesses who are interested in applying for either the façade, historic electric sign, or rent assistance incentives should contact Sarah Allan at (859) 292-2144 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information, see applications and guidelines.
Between 2017 and 2023, the program has assisted 128 businesses or projects (not counting 58 COVID-related Small Business Emergency Grants) … supported 36 businesses with women, veteran, or Black owners … leveraged almost $7.3 million of private investment … helped create or retain over 5,800 jobs … and impacted just under 470,000 square feet of vacant commercial space that has been filled or improved.
In 2021, the program received an award from the International Economic Development Council, the world’s largest organization of development professionals.
# # #