Two Businesses Awarded Matching Grants in ViBe Creative District

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

​Virginia Beach Economic Development, in collaboration with the Office of Cultural Affairs and ViBe Creative District, announce that two more businesses have been approved for the ViBe Creative District Matching Grant Program. The grants are designed to provide financial support to small and locally-owned and operated businesses located within the ViBe Creative District. The program offers financial incentives in the form of matching grants to new and existing property owners or businesses that plan to make capital investments within the district.

North End Bag Company, established in 2012, is located at 607 19th St. The company produces handcrafted canvas and leather bags. The grant funding will be used to expand from 400 square feet to an additional 900 square feet. The expansion cost of $16,530 includes exterior and interior painting, sealing concrete floors, adding an A/C unit, updating electrical and creating access to the workroom from the showroom. Additional improvements include replacing an exterior door, glass windows, and adding three screen doors, signage and shelving. The company will receive a grant in the amount of $8,265.

Evofit, LLC is located at 534 Virginia Beach Blvd. The gym provides programs that combine multiple elements of strength and conditioning. Trainers work with clients to track and increase progress and develop healthy nutritional habits. The business will install a new overhead door, mural, lighting and signage for an investment of $3,850. The improvements will allow more natural light in the space. The company will receive a grant in the amount of $1,925.

"By investing in our small businesses and the ViBe Creative District, we are able to demonstrate our support of this significant business sector in the city," said Virginia Beach Economic Development Director Warren D. Harris. "We anticipate these improvements will propel the businesses to even more growth."

"These enhancements will add to the atmosphere here, and we look forward to enlivening these work and businesses spaces to be even more welcoming to clients and visitors," said Kate Pittman, executive director of the ViBe Creative District.

ViBe Creative District Matching Grant funding is to be used for building improvements, equipment to expand or modernize businesses and façade improvements. Types of improvements funded will include enhanced entrances or storefronts, lighting, fencing, signage, landscaping, parking upgrades and open-air café spaces. Projects must make a demonstrable improvement to the property, and the funding is intended to encourage and support economic development and job growth within the District. Grant applications and additional information are available at www.yesvirginiabeach.com/city-incentives.

The ViBe Creative District was established to attract creative industries to a section of the Virginia Beach Oceanfront that was identified for revitalization. It was once an incubator for small and emerging businesses. In 2015, the City of Virginia Beach established the boundary of the district by ordinance and declared it "an arts and cultural district and technology zone" with incentives established by the Virginia General Assembly. The ViBe Creative District's purpose is to serve as a vibrant center for the arts, culture and technology.

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