City $$ helps 5 new businesses, upgrades of 5 commercial properties

Photo courtesy of Orleans Development.

Small Business incentive interest shows

‘Covington is still the place where folks want to be’

COVINGTON, Ky. – A pet grooming and retail business, a family-owned Nepalese restaurant, a Hawaiian-inspired restaurant, and a historic building poised for a transformation are among 10 businesses to receive financial help from the City’s internationally recognized Small Business Program.

The Covington Board of Commissioners this week approved five rent-subsidy and five façade improvement incentives that will nurture private investment, the creation of new jobs, and a more attractive business environment in The Cov.

The incentives came during the third round of funding this fiscal year under the City’s Small Business Program, which sets aside $150,000 a year to help fledgling businesses with first-year rent and help commercial property owners upgrade their exteriors or restore a historic electric business sign.

“With this round, I’m seeing a lot of new businesses activating space that has been vacant for at least 20 years, proving that Covington is still the place where folks want to be,” said Covington’s Business Retention & Expansion Specialist Patrick Duffy. “On that note, we have three businesses – Noteworthy Tattoo, Bridges, and Southside Strength Company – who are moving to Covington from an outside location, one Covington business expanding more than 150 percent of its original footprint, and one gigantic historic renovation with the Landwehr building project, which is expanding more than 150 percent of its original footprint.”

In all, the incentives awarded Tuesday totaled $60,000, or $6,000 each to the five new businesses and five commercial façade projects.

‘Landwehr Flats’

The biggest project is actually a collection of properties that received two $6,000 façade grants. Located at 824, 826 and 828 Madison Ave., the iconic Landwehr building housed Landwehr Hardware & Toys for more than 100 years. The venerated building has three commercial storefronts and 12 apartments on the upper floors in the City’s Central Business District.

“I’ve always admired the Landwehr’s building,” said Tony Kreutzjans, Orleans Development owner. “With it neighboring our office, we had to do this project.”

The building’s storefronts will return to their original design, each varying slightly. All transom glass will be restored to allow for more natural light in the commercial space, and the breezeways between the buildings will be restored to allow for daylight in the rear of the building.

Orleans Development plans to retain the original footprint of the building’s 12 upper-floor apartments, slightly modifying the floor plans to allow for larger, more comfortable bathrooms. Kreutzjans said all original trim, fireplaces, doors, and floors will remain while Orleans updates the mechanicals, bathrooms, and kitchens. To honor the building’s storied history, the development will be named “Landwehr Flats.”

The property at 824 Madison will undergo about $17,100 worth of façade improvements, and the exterior work at 826-28 Madison will be a $34,200 project.

The storefront at 824 Madison will become the second location and expansion of an existing Covington business, to be named at a later date. Orleans plans to activate workforce housing on the building’s second floor, which has been vacant for more than 20 years. The storefront at 826-28 Madison will be available for lease after completion. Its upper floors will also become workforce housing.

Chelsey O’Connell, a partner on the project, said the funds from the City’s Small Business Program were “essential.”

“Getting financing on this project was challenging in the beginning,” O’Connell said. “The numbers were tight, and the banks were conservative on lending at the time. The City funds were truly essential, otherwise we may not have been able to update the facades to our liking.”

Kreutzjans also noted the role of The Catalytic Fund of Northern Kentucky as Orleans’ lending partner, which he said was critical to the project.

The other incentives:

Rent Subsidies

  • $6,000 to Pasquale Performance (dba Southside Strength Co.). Previously located in Newport, Pasquale Performance’s Southside Strength Co. is a premier strength-training facility that signed a five-year lease at a vacant building at 319 Madison Ave. The new facility is a significant improvement over its previous space and will allow growth for both clientele and staff. Adding to the City’s “Experiencing Covington,” sector, Pasquale Performance is a woman-owned company that will add 2 new employees and $100,000 in new payroll.
  • $6,000 to 4 Hounds Pet Services (4 Hounds Gear and Grooming). 4 Hounds provides grooming services and pet retail products to pet owners. The business is located at 339 W. Pike St. in the Westside neighborhood and is LGBTQ+ owned.
  • $6,000 to Bridges Covington, LLC. Bridges is a fast-casual, family-owned restaurant that serves Nepalese cuisine and has expanded to make Covington its fourth location at 11 W. 7th St. With a full business plan and future projections, Bridges will fill a second street vacancy in the Mutter Gottes neighborhood.
  • $6,000 to Noteworthy Tattoo Co. LLC. After years of operating in Hyde Park, Noteworthy will move to a previously vacant space at 521 Madison Ave.
  • $6,000 to KeAloha’s Kitchen. This Hawaiian-inspired veteran and woman-owned restaurant has expanded its restaurant footprint from its previous 800 square feet in Latonia to more than 4,000 square feet at 529 Main St. in the heart of MainStrasse Village.

Owners of two of the businesses said the City funds helped them open and grow.

Amy Abafo, owner of KeAloha’s Kitchen, said the small business incentive helps with what was an expensive move and expansion from its carryout location to the site of the former Dee Felice restaurant.

“When we moved here to MainStrasse, all of our expenses were quadrupled,” Abafo said. “The small business incentive is going to help us a lot. We were a food truck first, then we went into carryout, and now we’re getting our bearings here. It’s a lot. We went from a sole proprietorship to an LLC, and now we have employees and payroll.”

The co-owner of 4-Hounds Pet Services said its grant will have similar results.

“The rent subsidy is amazing because that’s revenue we didn’t budget when we were starting the business,” said Christopher Davis, who co-owns the business with husband Kenneth Mulvey. “That’s money that we can now put back into our business, such as hire someone, do some advertising, or use for merchandise. We’ve had an extremely positive experience. The entire economic development team has been very helpful.”

Façade Incentives

  • $6,000 to Covert Furniture Co. for a $35,200 façade project on the long-neglected vacant commercial building at 25 Shaler St. in the Austinburg/Eastern Corridor. The owner will replace windows and street-facing fencing and add new paint, lighting, signage, garage doors, and office doors. The building will be the future home of Covert Design + Build.
  • $6,000 to 2445 Madison Ave., home to Kelley’s Trim Shop, is directly across from Holmes High School in the city’s Eastern Corridor. This $12,480 façade project will include custom garage door graphics and new paint.
  • $6,000 to 902 Madison Ave., home to Hat Trick’s Sports Bar. The $23,985 façade project will include improvements to lighting, the awning, paint, storefront, and door. The owner hopes the façade improvements will attract visitors and further economic development progress along Madison Avenue.

Fourth round

Applications for the fourth and final round of small business incentives during the 2024 fiscal year are now being accepted. The deadline is March 22.

For information, contact Patrick Duffy at (859) 292-2141 or




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