Press release from City of Hendersonville:
Fourteen downtown businesses have been awarded grants to support “pivoting” their business model. The Friends of Downtown Hendersonville, a 501c3 nonprofit to support the vibrancy of downtown Hendersonville, established the program to encourage creative thinking among businesses while reducing the financial risk of taking on a new project during the pandemic. In 2021, the Friends of Downtown were one of 30 downtown districts across North Carolina to receive a $25,000 grant from Duke Energy’s Hometown Revitalization grant program.
Grants were evaluated based on three criteria: enhancement of the outdoor environment, potential for long-term viability, and creativity and innovation. Each grantee participated in a 5-minute interview with the Downtown Advisory Board’s Economic Vitality Team.
Pivot Fund Grants were awarded to:
-Black Bear Coffee – updating outdoor dining furniture
-2nd Act – installing outdoor dining furniture
-Wag! A Unique Pet Boutique – New website for e-commerce to allow for curbside pickup or delivery
-Dish Girl – purchasing equipment to improve live social media sales
-The Brandy Bar + Cocktails – diversifying revenue with merchandise, updating website
-Oklawaha Brewing Company – expanding outdoors with a patio in loading zone
-Team ECCO – diversifying programming by expanding educational offerings and upgrading technology
-Safelight – improving store displays and updating sidewalk dining at Dandelion Cafe
-Southern Appalachian Brewing – enclosing and heating outdoor seating area
-Moe’s Original BBQ – upgrading outdoor dining furniture and creating systems to maintain the cleanliness of sidewalk dining area
-D9 Brewing – purchasing outdoor space heaters for use in sidewalk dining
-Emma’s Baby Boutique – diversifying revenue by purchasing a laser engraver to make custom pieces for customers
-The Poe House – updating outdoor dining furniture and heaters
-Kingmaker’s Draft – diversifying revenue by adding a retail section, improved marketing, and increased food menu
“We are thrilled to offer this support for downtown businesses that will address some of the challenges created by the pandemic,” said Jamie Carpenter, downtown manager with the City of Hendersonville. “Thanks to Duke Energy, we are able to put $25,000 back into our downtown businesses so they can leverage those funds to support their ability to thrive in 2022.”
The Friends of Downtown gave out nearly $6,000 in Pivot Grants in 2020-2021 thanks to support from sponsors Van Winkle Law Firm and Bryan ‘b2’ Byrd, Realtor.