The City of Covington approved six small businesses for financial incentives to improve their storefront’s façade or help pay rent.
At Tuesday’s regularly scheduled Board of Commissioners meeting, the commission approved three rent subsidy and three façade improvement incentives through the city’s Small Business Development Program.
The program sets aside $150,000 each fiscal year to help businesses in three specific areas: improving the exterior of the business’s building, helping pay their first-year rent and restoring historic electric business signs.
“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,” said Covington Assistant Economic Development Director Sarah Allan. “The possibilities in Covington to grow a business are infinite.”
In total, $35,070 were given to the six businesses. Tuesday’s allotments were the fourth of the current fiscal year. From 2017 and 2023, the program has assisted 128 businesses or projects, including 36 that are black-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned.
Covington Commandery LLC
A $6,000 façade improvement subsidy was given to Covington Commandery. The money will go toward $63,959 worth of exterior improvements to 401 Scott St. The project includes new painting, windows, lighting and a complete rebuild of the storefront.
The building at 401 Scott St. was constructed in 1865 by pharmacist Charles Fletcher. The first floor was once occupied by Fletcher’s Drug Store, with the upper levels housing the Covington Free Masons.
“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,” said Orleans Development owner Tony Kreutzjans who is working on the project. “It was one of my favorite discoveries of the building.”
The pharmacy was open for over 100 years until it closed in the mid-1970s. Starting in the late-70s, The Center for Great Neighborhoods occupied the building’s second-floor offices.
“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.”
Covington 6th Street COA
A $6,000 façade improvement subsidy was given to Covington 6th Street COA. The money will go toward a $26,700 project at 201 W. Pike St. in the Mutter Gottes neighborhood. The façade improvements will include new windows, painting, windows, lighting and tuckpointing.
Felicity Properties LLC
A $6,000 façade improvement subsidy was given to Felicity Properties LLC. The money will go toward a $13,860 project at 404 W. Pike St. in MainStrasse. The facade improvements will include a complete repainting of the building.
A $6,000 rent subsidy was granted to Rivertown Vintage, located at 2 W. Pike Street. The woman-owned clothing store focuses on selling vintage garments for men. It’s located in Covington’s Central Business District.
A $6,000 rent subsidy was granted to Skoolaid LLC. Situated at 800 Church St. in Latonia, this educational business focuses on enhancing the physical and mental health of seniors, as well as the overall well-being of children.
Doulas of Cincinnati
A $5,070 rent subsidy was granted to Doulas of Cincinnati. This woman-owned business provides services such as labor and birth support, as well as postpartum and infant care. Primarily focused in Cincinnati, the business is increasing its footprint in Covington.