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Covington helping 6 more small businesses

Money for façade work, rent subsidies, historic electric sign

COVINGTON, Ky. – The latest winners of small business funds from the City of Covington are an eclectic bunch – both in terms of location and use:

  • A shop that will manufacture and sell flavored pretzels and sell T-shirts at Historic Ritte’s Corner in Latonia.
  • A Western-themed retail shop in Seminary Square.
  • A digital marketing firm and a tech pioneer for the deaf community, both in the Central Business District.
  • A revitalized historic electric sign for an iconic Lewisburg tavern.
  • And a new façade for a commercial building in Westside.

“This round, like most rounds of our internationally recognized Small Business Program, includes incentives for projects located all over the city,” said Covington Business Retention & Expansion Specialist Patrick Duffy. “We continue to see momentum in areas that we haven’t seen in a few years.”

After favorably discussing the six incentives, the Covington Board of Commissioners placed all of them on the “consent agenda” for formal vote this coming Tuesday, May 14.

They represent the fourth round of the Small Business Program, which is designed to nurture private investment, help create jobs, and create a more attractive business environment in The Cov. Its three distinct incentives help fledgling businesses with first-year rent, help commercial property owners upgrade their exteriors, and help restore historic electric signs.

Each fiscal year, the City sets aside $150,000. The incentives to be awarded Tuesday total $37,500, leaving $30,576 after four rounds.

Façade incentives

  • $6,000 to THIRTY9 Properties LLC toward a $12,613 façade project for 309 Lehmer, Covington, a commercial building located across the street from several single-family homes. The project will improve the building’s appearance and allow a new small business to relocated to Covington. The owner will replace the garage door, other building doors and windows, and lighting.

Rent subsidies

  • $6,000 to Scout Yonder, at 814 Madison Ave., Covington. Scout Yonder is a marketing firm that specializes in digital marketing for e-commerce brands. Scout Yonder builds and executes custom marketing strategies for online marketing places. Its services include paid social media management, sponsored brand campaigns, and full service marketplace partnerships. Scout Yonder adds to the City’s “All Things Office” sector. Duffy said the company plans to create two jobs.
  • $6,000 to The Point/Arc of Northern Kentucky for Zels Pretzels, at 3622 Decoursey Ave., Covington. Zels was purchased in 2023 by The Point Arc of Northern Kentucky and will now become a retail business that provides vocational and social training to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Zels, which is woman-owned, will manufacture and sell flavored pretzels at this location, as well as sell apparel produced in its separate Latonia print shop. This project will fill a vacant storefront on Decoursey as well as add a retail store to the Historic Ritte’s Corner business district. Zels Pretzels adds to the City’s “Experiencing The Cov” sector.
  • $6,000 to Safewave Technology Corp., at 2 W. Pike St., Covington, Safewave created the first portable vibration-based alert system for the deaf community. The system seamlessly integrates with the technology many currently own. With a full business plan and future projections, this Black-owned and veteran-owned business is filling a two-year vacancy on Pike Street and will add to the City’s “All Things Office” sector.
  • $6,000 to Beech Native, LLC for LDFW at 1008 Lee St., Covington, This outlaw country/Western-themed retail shop specializes in selling new and vintage T-shirts, jackets, and posters. After surpassing 135,000 followers on Instagram and steady online sales, Sam Phillips is opening his first brick and mortar store. This store will add to the retail shopping venues in the Seminary Square neighborhood.

Historic sign

  • $7,500 to Fessler Properties, LLC for Herb & Thelma’s Tavern at 718 Pike St., Covington. The restaurant’s former proprietor gifted the original Herb & Thelma’s Wiedemann sign to current owner Joe Fessler. Fessler decided to find a company to restore the sign, which will include neon lights, fresh paint, and installation. He worked with the City’s Historic Preservation Specialist, Kaitlin Bryan, to bring this dream to life.

For information about the program, visit applications and guidelines.

Existing businesses who are interested in applying should contact Business Retention & Expansion Specialist Patrick Duffy at (859) 292-2141 or [email protected]. Prospective businesses should contact Covington Business Attraction Manager Susan Smith at (859) 292-2321 or [email protected].

Since 2017, the program has assisted 148 businesses or projects (including the six to be approved Tuesday). These include 53 businesses with women, veteran, minority, or LGBTQ owners.

In 2021, the program received an award from the International Economic Development Council, the world’s largest organization of development professionals.

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