Middletown revamping micro-grant program for small businesses, including new restaurant

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Council recently approved two such micro-grants to BAAB’s Kayaking and to Brent’s Smokin’ Butts & Grill LLC.

Brent and Kelly Dalton have operated the food truck business since 2016. They are now at the next step of developing a restaurant at 1206 Central Ave. in downtown Middletown with plans to serve lunch and dinner, city officials said.

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“We are not open yet,” Brent Dalton said. “We’re shooting for mid-October to open. COVID pushed us back and we lost every big event this year because of that.”

Dalton said they plan to invest $60,000 into the facility, equipment, and payroll. They have been able to operate debt free up to this point, according to city officials.

“We’ve invested between $30,000 and $40,000 in kitchen equipment,” he said. “The city has been great to work with, but you still need to jump through all of the hoops.”

He said with the three-year lease on the building space, kitchen equipment and other start-up costs, the total investment will be close to $100,000.

Lyons said the city offered the Daltons a three-year, $6,000 forgivable loan to be used for startup costs. The city will waive $2,000 per year for each year they are in operation.

“Without a doubt, this is a good program,” Brent Dalton said. “Every little bit helps and anytime you get something, it’s a blessing and the city is putting its faith in you.”

A requirement of this assistance is meeting with the Butler County Small Business Development Center and developing a business plan.

Middletown City Council will consider final approval on Sept. 15 for another micro-grant for Andrea Booth, who has opened a new retail store at 1301 Central Ave. called Annie Up Boutique. The store specializes in biker apparel and parts.

Booth requested a $2,850 small business entrepreneurial assistance for a percentage of her signage costs. Pending approval by the Historic Commission Sept. 17, she hopes to have an illuminated sign. If no approval is granted, no funding will be released, Lyons said.


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