Michael Poore and Clay Walker, owners of Catch Bar and Grill and Stack Southern Bistro in Cleveland, have been awarded a $10,000 Main Street America Grant for their innovative response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their grant was one of 67 awarded in the nation and one of only two awarded in Tennessee.
Main Street America and The Hartford announce the first-round recipients of the HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program. Grants of $5,000 - $15,000 have been awarded to brick-and-mortar small businesses across the country. Funds will help these businesses respond and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and help to revitalize and strengthen older and historic downtown commercial districts.
“As COVID-19 continues to have a devastating impact on the small businesses that make our downtowns thrive, these locally-owned businesses need our support now more than ever,” said the National Main Street Center’s President and CEO Patrice Frey. “We are thrilled to assist these small businesses owners as they work to not only address challenges related to the pandemic, but also support the resilience of older and historic Main Street and commercial districts.”
Grant projects range from physical improvements to meet reopening guidelines, like building walk-up windows to allow for socially-distanced takeout and expanding outdoor dining, to equipment to comply with public health and safety guidelines, like installing touchless hand sanitizer stations and plexiglass barriers. Other funds went to businesses looking to expand e-commerce sales, improve online marketing efforts, or grow other parts of their business model. Some grantees also received funds for rent, payroll, and operating expenses.
“The Hartford is proud to have worked with Main Street America to provide these exceptional businesses with grant funds,” said Stephanie Bush, head of Small Commercial and Personal Lines at The Hartford. “Small business owners are at the heart of every American community and in 2020 I have been even more inspired than usual by their resilience, innovation and hard work.”
Of the 67 grants awarded, 53 benefited diverse-owned businesses, as defined by the Small Business Administration as minority, woman, veteran, disabled, and/or LGBTQ-owned. Grants benefitted a range of industry types – from restaurants and breweries to boutiques selling locally-made goods. 45 out of 67 grantee businesses are located within designated Main Street America districts.
Grant proposals were judged based on: feasibility; the extent to which the grant will help address an acute business need or help a business owner implement innovative solutions to address COVID-19-related challenges; opportunity for other businesses to learn from work; how the grant would help improve the viability of business; ability to leverage funds; and strength of letters of recommendation and supporting documents.
Click here to see the full list of grant recipients.
The second round of the HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program will open on Thursday at 9 a.m. PST. Learn more here.