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City Incentives to Boost 7 Small Businesses in Covington

Seven small businesses in Covington will be the latest to benefit from the city's aggressive incentive program that offer benefits such as rent subsidies and facade grants.

The city commission formally approved the incentives on Tuesday night. Some of the businesses are familiar names, some are new, and some are on the way - like an ax-throwing operation.

Economic Development Specialist Ross Patten explained recently that the City of Covington is handling its incentive process differently and rather than evaluating applicants as they submit, the city will approve incentives on a quarterly basis.

There were nine applicants in this cycle and seven were approved for incentives while two others are being held for further evaluation, Patten said.

The awards total $41,400 in total and leave $30,000 in the city's economic development fund for the remainder of the year.

The incentives

Chako's Bakery

This operation was approved for the city's rent subsidy program, which typically assists a small business with half the rent costs for a calendar year.

Chako's Bakery will open at 212 West Pike Street, a space most recently occupied by the Crepe Cafe, which closed recently. The address is familiar to downtown Covington folks as a location of several different bakeries over the years.

Earlier this year, Chako operated a pop-up restaurant for two nights. Chako is part of the Center for Great Neighborhoods' pilot chef fellowship program. Chako was created by Hisako Okawa and will focus on using hand-made natural baking processes while incorporating Japanese ingredients and local produce.

The incentive is for $500 per month for a total of $6,000 over one year.

Economy Market

This Madison Avenue staple appears to be headed for a name-change.

Under the new ownership of Charolotte Rayne, who purchased the more than 50-year old business in 2016, the small grocery and butcher shop was approved for a $6,000 forgivable facade loan. It is expected to change its name to Chops, Cheese & Chives and will offer a greater selection of items, according to city documents.

The shop previously received new signage as part of the CoSign project that came to town in 2014.

It is located at 420 Madison Avenue.

Flying Axes

Ever wanted to throw an ax recreationally?

A new business, expanding from Louisville, is expected to open at 100 West 6th Street (an old Covington firehouse commonly remembered as the old Tickets Sports Bar).

Flying Axes is a business at which people compete by throwing axes at a target.

It is expected to create 15 new jobs in Covington and will generate revenue through beer and merchandise sales.

The business was approved for a $500 per month rent subsidy, or $6,000 over the course of a year.

The building was sold in 2016 and its second floor is used by Lighthouse Transportation Services, a growing business approved for incentives last year.

Grainwell Market

The popular woodworking business is expanding.

Grainwell, which designs, creates, and sells its products out of its shop at 316 West Pike Street, is opening a new boutique at 33 West Pike Street. Last Christmas, the space was part of the annual holiday pop-up shop effort.

The new operation will receive a $450 rent subsidy each month, or $5,400 over the course of a year.

Moonrise Donuts

When word got around that a new donut shop was opening in Latonia for evening customers, the new operation could barely keep up.

Though it is only weeks-old, the new donut shop that promises to rise with the moon has often run out of its signature product before closing time. Owner Keith Bales told The River City News last month that he was motivated to open the shop (which opens at 6 p.m. and aims to close at 11 p.m. - if not earlier when the product is gone) by his memories of the old Latonia Bakery, noted for its late-night hot donuts.

Located at 3718 Winston Avenue (in a former Subway sandwich shop), Moonrise will receive a $500 per month rent subsidy, or up to $6,000 over the course of a year.

Old Towne Tavern

This downtown Covington landmark - owned by Tom Yucha and Dustin Hooks since 2007 - is sprucing itself up.

As the downtown area rebounds with new additions like Braxton Brewing Company, Hotel Covington, and the Hannaford, Old Towne Tavern is getting a face-lift and is expanding to its second floor.

The bar received a $6,000 forgivable facade loan.

Smoke Justis

This new restaurant - created by the guy behind Ft. Wright's Dickmann's and named for a pitcher for the short-lived Covington Blue Sox - is already growing. It opened last year in a beautifully renovated part of the old Citizens Telephone building at Roebling Point and recently opened its Roebling Room event space.

The business, at 302 Court Street, was approved for a $6,000 forgivable facade loan as it embarks on a $100,000 expansion to add office and event space on the second floor.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Photo: Economy Meats (RCN file)