Due to the far-reaching economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic to small businesses, the City of Iowa City awarded $360,400 to 27 small businesses in Iowa City. The City prioritized applications based on the following, in priority order: 1) financial impact of COVID on the business; 2) extent of federal, state or local assistance received or awarded to date; and 3) qualification as a Minority or Women Business Enterprise (majority ownership and control of a business entity by a person of color or a woman).

To be eligible for the funds, the businesses had to be in operation as of January 1, 2020, have $1,000,000 or less in annual gross revenue and 25 or fewer employees. Home-based businesses were eligible if the home is in Iowa City. Of the awarded applicants, 22 of the 27 businesses are owned by women or persons of color. Many of these businesses scored highly as they had either not received or received small amounts of other federal, state or local funds.

Funding for the program came from federal Community Development Block Grant dollars allocated through the Cares Act. In addition to other eligibility requirements, all the businesses must retain jobs held by primarily low to-moderate income employees or qualify as a HUD defined microenterprise.

The City of Iowa City engaged several partners to ensure the grant program would be a success. The Iowa City Area Business Partnership provided marketing and outreach to businesses. Community CPA provided accounting services to assist applicants with their submission. East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECICOG) reviewed and scored applications and is administering the program.   

The businesses listed below have been awarded funds. Businesses can be reimbursed for up to six months of expenses, up to $15,000 if they have employees, a maximum of $10,000 if they do not.

Business receiving grants

AWH LLC, DBA K&Q Nails- 1641 S 1st Ave.

The Bandits LLC, DBA Banditos- 630 Iowa Ave.

BB’s Dispatching LLC, DBA BB’s Dispatching- 2930 Industrial Park Road

Bliss Food & Health LLC, DBA Enjoy a Bowl- 316 Burlington St.

Chackalackal Inc., DBA One Twenty Six Restaurant- 126 E. Washington St.

Crepe De Luxe- 309 E. College St.

CRWN LLC, DBA CRWN- 6 E. Benton St.

Dorothy Frank Exclusive Imports Group LLC, DBA NaNa Boutique- 5 Sturgis Corner Drive, #2500

Dublin Underground- 5 S. Dubuque St.

Duyen Salon, DBA Grace Nail Salon & Spa- 1301 S. Gilbert St., Suite 3

Estela’s Fresh Mex- 184 E. Burlington St.

Extraordinary Potential Psychological Assessment, PLC, DBA Extraordinary Pysch- 935 S. Gilbert St., Ste A

Gabe’s Oasis, LLC, DBA Gabes- 330 E. Washington St.

Garden Club, DBA Maker's Loft- 125 S. Dubuque St.

George’s Buffet, DBA George’s- 312 E. Market St.

Get Fresh LLC, DBA Get Fresh- 109 Iowa Ave.

Glassando- Old Capitol Mall, 201 S. Clinton St.

The Haunted Bookshop, LLC, DBA Haunted Bookshop- 219 N. Gilbert St.

Iowa Recovery Room- 1509 Mall Drive, Ste 1

Jodi Connolly Salon, Inc., DBA Buzz- 110 S. Dubuque St.

Kubby Gyrl’s, DBA Beadology- 220 E. Washington St.

Mo’s Angel Scents LLC, DBA Mo’s Angel- 1024 Gilbert Court

Om, Inc., DBA Om Gifts- 105 S. Linn St.

Sun Café LLC, DBA Sun Cafe- 953 S. Riverside Dr.

Sun Enterprise LLC, DBA Oryza Asian Cuisine- 5 Sturgis Corner Drive

Thai Spice- 1210 S. Gilbert St.

Xingchen Corporation, DBA Uncle Sun- 100 S. Linn St.

For a one-stop-shop on additional business resources and to receive regular updates on new grant or loan opportunities, please visit www.icareatogether.com and sign up for their weekly email

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Date of publication

Wednesday, February 03, 2021