HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) – 14 businesses in downtown Hendersonville are using grant money to help pivot their business during the pandemic.

“It’s been a great support for our downtown businesses,” said downtown manager Jamie Carpenter. “We received $25,000 from Duke Energy Foundation to be able to redistribute out to our businesses.”

Carpenter said owners could apply for grants ranging between $500 to $2,500. Applicants were evaluated based on enhancement of the outdoor area, potential for long-term viability, and creativity and innovation.

“A lot of our businesses have used it to expand outdoors, which is really critical,” said Carpenter.

The owner of Oklawaha Brewing Company said outdoor seating is a huge plus.

“It added about 25 additional seats I would say, which is about a 20 percent increase for us which is fantastic during this you know crazy COVID times,” said Joseph Dinan, the owner of Oklawaha Brewing Company.

He received $2,500 to add an outdoor section.

“It’s been a huge bonus to us. We watched people every day, even while it’s cold now and the seats are outside, come in, get a beer and go immediately outside,” said Dinan.

Black Bear Coffee Company is spending its grant money outside too.

“On sunny days, even in the winter, we’ll have people sitting outside,” said general manager Mary Kate Meadows.

It’s going to upgrade patio seating and Meadows said every dollar helps.

“Our sidewalk seating needed some help, for sure. It gets a lot of use. Our umbrellas have taken a beating, so it’s just the place that we needed it the most, that sidewalk seating for sure,” said Meadows.

Meadow said the patio furniture will be upgraded by the spring.

These businesses received grant money:

  • 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