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Akron, Ohio

Mayor Dan Horrigan Announces 2020 Rubber City Match Grant Recipients: Gypsy Grace & The Vintage Goat and SRINA Tea

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2021 RCM applications are due June 30, 2021

City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of City of Akron Press Office
Published: 06-24-2021

Akron, Ohio, June 24, 2021— Mayor Dan Horrigan announced today two cash award winners of the first round of Rubber City Match, Gypsy Grace & The Vintage Goat and SRINA Tea House. Each is receiving a business loan from local lending partners Western Reserve Community Fund and ECDI, as well as a $50,000 grant from the City of Akron to complete the projects. Gypsy Grace & The Vintage Goat will be expanding their business to offer more services to customers, while SRINA Tea House, a new business, plans to open on Kenmore Boulevard later this summer. 

“The City of Akron is pleased to offer this type of impactful support to our new and expanding small businesses,” Mayor Dan Horrigan said. “Retail and service businesses like these greatly contribute to our community’s vibrancy by supplying services to the neighborhoods they inhabit and occupying key storefront properties. Our 2020 grant recipients are great examples of successful, in-demand local businesses that will use these funds to create jobs for our residents.”

After a year of preparation and community engagement, SRINA Tea House will join several new businesses opening on Kenmore Boulevard and will be the third Black female-owned business to open in the district in the past year. Located at 975 Kenmore Blvd. the new venue will serve as a cozy outlet offering organic teas, coffee and healthy-delicious food made with ingredients produced on their small-scale farm in Sri Lanka and prepared by Akron’s own Chef Glenn Gillespie (Edgars Restaurant). SRINA Tea House will be a retail and wellness destination allowing customers an opportunity to purchase SRINA products and attend health workshops and special events.

"At SRINA Tea house, we are doing something beyond the cup of tea, we are building culture and community,” said CEO Monaqui Porter Young. “We believe in warmth, authenticity, kindness, positivity and passion!"

Gypsy Grace & the Vintage Goat is a retail store located at 451 W Market St. in the West Hill neighborhood of Akron, specializing in metaphysical goods like herbs and crystals, as well as home décor and gifts. As a Rubber City Match winner, they will expand their operation to include healing salt rooms and float tanks. Unlike many businesses that suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, owners Angel Gunter and Joe Schiebe saw their business grow. This success is in large part due to their quick response to customer demand, which is also driving their expansion of services.

“The purpose of Rubber City Match is to provide funding to businesses who may not have access to traditional financing,” says Heather Roszczyk, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Advocate for the City of Akron. “The businesses receive support and guidance throughout the process, and as a result, the participating building owners are being connected to vetted tenants who are more likely to succeed.”

Applications are still open for the second round of Rubber City Match, and the deadline to submit is June 30, 2021. Rubber City Match pairs new and expanding businesses with Akron’s top real estate opportunities, providing funding and technical assistance along the way. Grants will be available through the program, in addition to business-friendly loans that will assist with launching businesses, renovations or other related expenses.

The program features four award levels for business and building owners:

  • Business Plan Award: Free tuition to attend MORTAR at Bounce, sharpen your business skills and develop your business plan. MORTAR is a 15-week accelerator course that helps both existing and aspiring non-tech entrepreneurs learn the nuances of business ownership and build a comprehensive business canvas; the goal being to launch businesses that create jobs and circulate dollars locally. The program focuses on entrepreneurs who are often under-served.
  • Space Award: Get matched with the right space for your business, receive technical assistance to help you choose your space and be eligible for microgrants to have attorneys review your lease documents
  • Design Award: Meet with architects and be eligible to receive grants to pay for architectural drawings for the build-out of your new space
  • Cash Award: Meet with lenders who focus on supporting small businesses. If there is a gap between what the business owner can put into the project and what the lenders are willing to lend, business owners are eligible to receive grants from the City to fill the financial gap.

Competing businesses will be scored on five criteria: Vision and Plan, Experience and Capacity, Market Opportunity, Community Support and Leverage of Investment. Winning businesses must agree to locate within the City of Akron for at least two (2) years and demonstrate a benefit to the community.

To apply for Rubber City Match visit rubbercitymatch.com, and for more information call 330-375-2133.

For further information, contact:
City of Akron Press Office
Phone: 330-375-2754
E-mail: [email protected]

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