Three different Covington-based seamstresses, an AI startup, and a long-time local supply company received funding from the Covington Commission. The commission approved one façade improvement and two rent subsidy incentives through the city’s internationally recognized small business program.
The incentives were provided during this year’s first round of funding under the program, with $150,000 set aside annually for three areas, including startups with first-year rents and commercial real estate ownership.
The first recipient of funding is The Gardening Seamstress, a woman-owned business focused on bridal remodelling. They are relocating from Cincinnati to Ritte’s She Corner in Latonia. The company was awarded a $5,400 rent grant, aligning with the city’s goal area of “The Covington Experience.”
Flamel.AI, Inc., a high-growth AI startup located on Madison Avenue, received a $6,000 donation. This funding is expected to lead to at least $600,000 in new salaries. Flamel.AI aligns with the city’s target sector, the All Things Office.
JH Fedders Inc., a 140-year-old local supply company, was granted $6,000 for facade improvements. The funds will cover the $16,400 cost of painting the entire store facade. JH Fedders Inc. sells animal, lawn, garden, and pest control supplies and is located at 1550 Russell St.
Covington Assistant Director of Economic Development Sarah Allan expressed her satisfaction with supporting both established companies like JH Fedders Inc. and cutting-edge companies like Flamel.AI.
In addition to these investments, the Commission also approved a $100,000 tax increment financing (TIF) for Opal Rooftop Bar & Restaurant, which will open this fall at 535 Madison Street. The rooftop restaurant, owned by Bill Whitlow, will be his third venue in Covington and is part of the renovated six-story Republic Bank building.
Sarah Allan can be contacted for more information on applying for facades, historic electronic signs, or rent assistance incentives.
From 2017 to 2023, the Small Business Program supported 131 businesses or projects, excluding COVID-19 related emergency grants. Thirty-seven of these businesses or projects were owned by women, veterans, or Black business owners. The program helped leverage approximately $7.3 million in private investment, retain over 5,800 jobs, and improve or fill just under 470,000 square feet of vacant commercial space.
In 2021, the program received an award from the International Economic Development Council, recognizing its achievements in supporting small businesses in Covington.