Four Atlanta BeltLine businesses are among the twenty-four recipients of the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s Restore ATL Fund. Presented in partnership with the CareSource Foundation, the fund, totaling $180,000, will support Black-owned, small and medium-sized businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CareSource Foundation, a Dayton-based health plan, generously donated $180,000 to jump-start the RESTORE ATL Fund as part of their recent efforts to meet the variable community needs around social determinants of health and, most recently, to support small businesses in their local markets.
More than 15% of the grant funds will support BeltLine businesses. The four Atlanta BeltLine businesses that will receive the grant include:
- Just Add Honey Tea Company, a loose-leaf tea company by Brandi and Jermail Shelton, offering specialty blends in store at their Eastside Trail or Sweet Auburn Market locations, online and wholesale;
- M.L. King Dental Center, a quality, affordable general and cosmetic dental care office led by Dr Mordena Sullen just steps away from the Westside Trail that has been serving the community for over 25 years;
- Squash Blossom Boutique, a brick and mortar and online women’s clothing and accessory boutique run by owner Lisa Bobb which sells apparel, shoes, jewelry and gift items and provider of fashion styling services with locations in DeKalb County and at The Larkin at Grant Park;
- Twisted Soul Cookhouse and Pours, a full-service restaurant near the future Westside Trail- Extension, run by award-winning Executive Chef, Deborah VanTrece.
The RESTORE ATL Fund will provide immediate gap assistance to the recipient companies for any business-related operating expense. Grant recipients were selected based on need and potential impact by a volunteer-panel of expert business leaders from various industries.
“We’re extremely grateful for the support that the Chamber has shown us in offering this grant to black businesses. It makes us feel good to know we have support behind us and provides a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not just a financial boost: it’s also a mental boost to move forward and energizes us to pay it forward,” shared Deborah VanTrece of Twisted Soul Cookhouse and Pours. “Twisted Soul has been an asset to our community, and through this additional financial support, we can help our people, continue to employ local farmers, and move forward on our initiatives which will help other businesses in the community.”
The Fund builds on the work of the Metro Chamber’s RESTORE task force, a diverse group of business leaders which aims to provide a blueprint for how metro Atlanta and Georgia might accelerate economic recovery. The group took on this important task while prioritizing the health of Georgia’s families and neighbors and considering the state’s most vulnerable populations.
“This fund is a small step to restoring our region’s economy; however, we are proud to build on the work of RESTORE and support these four Beltline businesses, all with strong potential for positive economic impact,” said Metro Atlanta Chamber President and CEO Katie Kirkpatrick. “Atlanta has long been known as a place where black entrepreneurs have had success. We want to honor this important part of our legacy and support black-owned businesses.”
“Atlanta is a fantastic place to grow a business! You get all the benefits and opportunities that come from being in a world-class city, while at the same time you get support and connection from being part of a tight knit community – where you can really make an impact,” said Squash Blossom Boutique owner, Lisa Bobb.
Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. and Atlanta BeltLine Partnership are committed to supporting BeltLine businesses and communities by providing resources, sharing information, and facilitating connections that will strengthen business and community resiliency. Since COVID-19 began, ABI’s economic development team has been actively connecting BeltLine businesses to resources such as the Restore ATL Fund. Learn more at beltline.org/business.