An ancient health care practice that provides ongoing emotional and informational support to women before, during and after childbirth, as well as a building that housed a mid-1800s pharmacy, as well as the Covington Freemasons, were among six businesses awarded funding by the Covington Board . commissioners.
The commission approved three rent subsidy incentives and three facade improvement incentives through the City’s internationally recognized Small Business Program.
The incentives came during the fourth round of funding this fiscal year under the program, which allocates $150,000 annually in three areas — helping start-ups with first-year leases and commercial property owners improve their exteriors or renovate a historic electric business sign.
“This is the fifth round of small business incentives I’ve worked on since starting my position last March, and the variety of businesses and buildings never ceases to impress me,” said Covington Assistant Economic Development Director Sarah Allan. “This round is no different, with recipients ranging from a growing health-related business supporting new parents to the reimagining of a building that was historically home to a Masonic lodge. The opportunities in Covington for business development are endless.”
• $5,070 to Doulas of Cincinnati, a unique woman-owned healthcare firm serving pregnant women with regional growing market share. The business is in line with the target sector of the City “You are healthier”.
• $6,000 to Rivertown Vintage at 2 W Street. Pike Street, a women’s vintage clothing store focusing on menswear, located in the Central Business District.
• $6,000 to Skoolaid LLC, a unique education business at 800 Church St. in Latonia that focuses on increasing the physical health, mental well-being and independence of children and the elderly, along with spreading knowledge of kindness through its disability awareness presentations.
• $6,000 to the Covington 6th Street COA toward the $26,700 facade project at 201-203 W Street. 6th St. which will include painting, windows, lighting and staging. The building is located in the Old Town/Mutter Gottes neighborhood.
• $6,000 to Felicity Properties LLC for a $13,860 facade project at 404 W Street. Pike St. which will include painting. The building is located in the village of MainStrasse.
• $6,000 to Covington Commandery LLC toward $63,959 in exterior improvements on Scott St. 401 which will include painting, windows, lighting and storefront reconstruction. The building is located in the Central Business District.
Orleans Development owner Tony Kreutzians said the facade grant funds are “essential” to the restoration of the Scott Street building, which has a long and varied history in Covington.
“401 Scott has been underutilized for decades,” Kreutzjans said. “It’s a cornerstone building in the Scott Street corridor, and we’re excited to breathe life into it.” Restoring the storefront to its original height and design will be transformational. The city’s facade grant is essential to this part of the project.”
The building was built in 1865 by Charles Fechter, an apothecary/pharmacist during his lifetime. Kreuzjans said later deeds designated the building as “Fechter’s Corner,” with Fechter’s Pharmacy occupying the first floor and Covington Masons occupying the upper floors. For more than 100 years – from 1865 until the mid-1970s – the first floor remained a pharmacy. Faint remnants of the word “Pharmacy” are on the top strip of the storefront, and an intact shower room is on the third floor, which was once a gym. The Center for Greater Neighborhoods occupied offices on the second floor in the late 70s.
“We also discovered that it was an art gallery in the 90s. It really had countless uses,” Kreutzjans said. “I think we’ve all passed this building a thousand times, but the next time you’re on foot, notice all the Masonic symbols in the center of the stonework on the upper floor windows.” It was one of my favorite discoveries of the building.”
Businesses interested in applying for facade, historic electric sign or rental assistance incentives should contact Sarah Allan at 859-292-2144 or email@example.com. For information, see applications and instructions.
Between 2017 and 2023, the program assisted 128 businesses or projects (not counting 58 emergency small business grants related to COVID) … supported 36 businesses owned by women, veterans, or black … used nearly 7 .3 million dollars in private investment … helped create or retain over 5,800 jobs … and impacted just under 470,000 square feet of vacant office space that was filled or improved.
In 2021, the program received an award from the International Council for Economic Development, the world’s largest organization of development experts.
City of Covington