ViBe Creative District Matching Grant Program Awards Three Businesses

Thursday, May 17, 2018

​Virginia Beach Economic Development, in collaboration with the Office of Cultural Affairs and ViBe Creative District, announce the final three approved grants for fiscal year 2017-18 from 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 $50,000 funding for the fiscal year has been allocated with these final grant awards. New grant applications will be considered July 1 with a new budget allocation of $25,000 for the next fiscal year.

Sugar Skull Creative is a full-service video production company that produces work for regional, national and international clients including Audi, Barbasol, ESPN, HBO, Redskins Nation, Mosquito Joe and Massimo Zanetti. The company originated in 1701, a coworking space located in the ViBe Creative District. It will lease and move to a permanent location at 529 Virginia Beach Blvd. Sugar Skull Creative is improving and modernizing the new location that was previously occupied by an automotive body shop. New bay doors with large windows and an improved business entrance is part of the upgrade. The interior will be converting into office space, and a new LED sign will be installed. The company will receive a matching grant in the amount of $4,800.

Porpoise, LLC owns the property at 606 20th St. It will make structural improvements to upgrade the property to relocate Benevolent Design, which currently occupies property at 607 C 19th St. Benevolent Design Company, owned by Patrick Ryan, provides custom-design carpentry including furniture and interior spaces that combine style and environmental responsibility. Property improvements include structural work, HVAC, upgraded doors, outfitting of workbenches and sidewalk/walkway improvements. Porpoise, LLC will receive a grant in the amount of $ 3,275.

Wave Riding Vehicles (WRV) is located at 1905 Cypress Ave. WRV is an established surf and board-building company in Virginia Beach. Improvements will enhance a free community Skate Park and Skate Camp for kids 6-16 that operates throughout the year. The Skate Park affords many local kids access to one of the only legal skating areas east of Mount Trashmore's city-owned park. Grant funds will replace 30 sheets of plywood underneath the ramp and also add a utility/service shed on the site. The service shed will continue to foster growth of the skating community by housing Skate Camp supplies along with supplies needed for regular maintenance of the park. The improvements will also include new picnic tables. The company will receive a matching grant in the amount of $5,925.

"The investments into the ViBe Creative District and the matching grant program improve the overall esthetic of the District and help our small businesses," said Virginia Beach Economic Development Director Warren D. Harris. "We've had enthusiastic support for this program from the business community and property owners."

"We are carefully evaluating every grant request, and we know these awards and improvements will have a significant impact on the area," 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

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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