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Covington Approves Forgivable Loans for Four Businesses

Four Covington businesses are set to receive forgivable city loans following approval this week by the city commission.

The money will be used to improve the exteriors of the four businesses' commercial properties.

Two of the properties support woman-owned businesses, two will add jobs, and three will utilize local contractors for the façade projects. Ross Patten, assistant director of the City of Covington’s economic development department, called that scenario a “win-win-win.”

“It’s great to see four existing businesses tap into our façade program this round, but it’s even more impressive to see their commitment to the community by hiring local Covington contractors,” Patten said.

The businesses fall in three neighborhoods: Mutter Gottes, MainStrasse, and downtown.

Tippcork-Rooskey LLC is performing a major rehab on a highly visible building at 106 E. Fourth St. (next to Molly Malone’s Irish Pub) that is the new home of Garden Grove Organics, a horticulture supply shop that moved from Scott Blvd.

The $4,075 loan will help fund $8,150 in façade improvements that include new signage for Garden Grove and a new wall mural, both to be created by Covington contractors. Separately, work on the building, which once housed a series of restaurants, has included $43,000 in exterior improvements and $80,000 in interior renovation.

Garden Grove Organics is adding three jobs to go with the two employees it’s retained.

Juan and Rachel Hiraldo will receive $6,000 toward $16,000 in exterior work at 613 Main St., where they own and operate Vivify Counseling and Wellness.

The project includes repairing, tuck-pointing, and sealing the building’s masonry; repairing damaged cornices and soffit; repainting; and adding a railing. It’s accompanying $15,000 in interior work.

This façade loan, then, supports an existing woman-owned business that will add two employees at its new location.

Main Street Medical is a longtime business – Pediatric Care of Kentucky at 924 Main St. Its $4,300 loan will go toward $8,600 in exterior work, including painting and washing, scraping, and painting all wood and trim as well as metal window sashes, and metal flashing, valleys, lights, mailbox, and doors.

That work accompanies $25,155 in interior work.

The project will use a Covington contractor and is in a section of MainStrasse that has to date seen less investment.

Kathleen Jones owns the med-spa Kathy Jones Aesthetics, which opened in 2019 at 120 W. Fifth St. Her $6,000 loan will go toward a $25,000 repair and restoration of nearly all the property’s historic windows, plus painting, which will be done by a local contractor. The project accompanies $25,000 in interior work.

This loan supports a woman-owned business.

Patten pointed out that the four recipients leveraged more than $80,375 in private investment, a nearly 4:1 ratio of private-to-public investment, and support the growth of four Covington businesses.

Three rounds left

The collective $20,375 in façade incentives represents Round 1 of the city’s annual Small Business Program, which again this fiscal year has $150,000 available. The approved incentives leave $129,625 on the table to fund future rounds of funding, which occur quarterly.

The rent subsidy program offers up to $500 a month for first-year rent for 12 months. The façade improvement program offers a forgivable loan of up to $6,000 to match dollar-for-dollar investments in exterior improvements to a commercial building.

-Staff report