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Release Date: May 3,2022

Downtown Akron Partnership announces six new businesses opening in downtown Akron

April 28, 2022, Akron—Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP) is happy to announce that several new businesses are opening downtown after being selected for DAP’s Start Downtown Program, which is funded through a grant from Burton D. Morgan Foundation. Start Downtown brings new businesses to downtown Akron by matching business owners and entrepreneurs with downtown property owners. In alignment with Opportunity Akron and the Elevate Greater Akron Strategy, the program encourages new business growth with an emphasis on businesses owned by women and people of color. The program, which began in 2015 as the Pop-Up Retail Program, has catalyzed 13 businesses that are operating downtown.

Now, six new businesses are opening within downtown’s 42-block Special Improvement District after being selected for the Start Downtown program. The businesses are Capital Talent Development Group, whose core mission is to advance the talent development of historically underserved and underrepresented youth and adult talent in the labor market; Ernie’s Catering, which boasts masterfully bold barbeque; Perfect Pour, a burger and bourbon restaurant; Street Craftery, which produces handcrafted home goods and offers DIY workshops and classes; Sweet & Savvy, a specialty cupcake bakery; and Velvet Vintage, a curated shop selling vintage clothing and furniture. Five of these businesses are owned by women, and five are owned by people of color.

DAP Director of Business Development Kimberly Beckett said, “Bringing these new Start Downtown businesses to the heart of the city is a powerful way to help nurture a stronger, more walkable and livable neighborhood. Each one activates a storefront, encouraging foot traffic and creating a space where people can gather, shop, eat, and spend time.

Downtown Akron Partnership assisted these new businesses in finding storefront locations and, through grant funds, will provide rent and marketing assistance over a six-month period. The rent stipend program supports these ready-to-open businesses by offsetting startup costs and is distributed at the discretion of DAP. The Start Downtown Program is made possible with support from Burton D. Morgan Foundation.