Recommend a Neighborhood Business To Receive a $500 Grant


“Dear PoP,

My name is Yvette and I work at LEDC ( Latino Economic Development Corporation). We are offering $500 grants to businesses that have potential but need some graphic design/marketing/other consulting services (the vendor of their choice).”

I suggested the great El Limeno restaurant located on the 200 block of Upshur across from the Hitching Post. What do you guys think – know of any worthy local businesses that could use some graphic design/marketing services? Put your suggestions in the comments section and Yvette will check back at the end of the week.

They previously awarded a grant to Jam Down the new Jamaican restaurant, located at 3303 Georgia Ave., we spoke about last week.

60 Comment

  • I always feel that Burritos Fast could succeed with a very small overhaul.

  • I second the nomination of El Limeno — a great place but it really needs a new sign

  • Are non-profits eligible?

  • I “third” the nomination for El Limeno. A great place–but no permanent sign? How are they going to attract significant new business to that nice, big place of theirs?

    Oh, and relocate the jukebox speakers next to the bar instead of on the other side of the restaurant–forcing them to turn the volume up ear-bleedingly loud during dinner so people at the bar can hear their tunes.

  • El Limeno is a good choise. That, or Cafe Mango to let them buy some soap and paint… 😉

  • I would like to nominate El Rinconcito Deportivo located on 11th Street NW between Kenyon and Lamont. They serve authentic and delicious comida salvadorena y mexicana. I think that they could benefit from a grant to improve their signage.

  • it’s a good thing the district can just magically print money to hand out to private businesses. i mean, if they couldn’t, they’d have to take the money from other, more successful businesses and people to hand out to less successful ones – and we all know that would be a really bad move right?

    i swear this city will make me a hardcore republican by the time i leave.

  • Anon 9:21, to be fair, and this is coming from a hardcore republican, this grant is coming from a private institution. They have a good sized list of funders, only one of which is the Mayor’s office.

    I do however agree with your point more generally, but not in this specific case.

  • hey, spread the wealth! just kidding, i agree with anon and stubs… but if this is as stubs describes, then i think el limeno is an excellent choice. do they even have a sign?

  • Yes!!! El Limeno!! They are so nice and could absolutely use a new sign other than their sad warped vinyl one!

  • Man their rice is good. I don’t know what they put in it.

  • El Rinconcito Deportivo on 11th Street! Maria’s burritos are amazing and she could definitely use the help.

  • El Limeno FTW!!!!

    Convince them to use it for outdoor seating!!!!

  • Anon 9:21. Sounds like you are already a hardcore republican. You better hold onto your money tight! The world is out to get it.

  • I’d also vote for Reconcito Deportivo. I like to drink beers there and watch soccer games sometimes, and if they cleaned it up a bit and made it look more appealing, they would attract a lot more folks.

  • Ill toss my vote to Rinconcito Deportivo as well. Their food is out of this world and that secret green sauce they have should be marketed on its own. Great food, fair prices, and open when I need it. A new coat of paint and a decent sign would go a long way for them. I think many passers-by are put off by the grungy appearance but watching Maria cook up the food in front of you clears away all and any fears that I may have had.

  • why do people think a restaurant that uses the gross frozen vegetable medley mix of square carrots, green beans and peas deserves a grant? I didn’t like the taste of that shit in 1984 when my mom used it, and I sure as hell don’t want to pay money for it now.

  • anon 9:20 again

    Stubs: according to their annual report (on their website), 75% of LEDC funding comes from government sources.

    If Maria wants a new coat of paint on her building she should go ahead and buy some paint! Is she in danger of going out of business?

    VoiceofReason, why don’t you volunteer to clean up Reconcito Deportivo? Some Saturday morning, maybe you can organize a group of your fellow soccer watchers to clean it up, maybe do some painting, buy them some new fixtures, etc. How about if some bureacrat in the mayor’s office came by and compelled you to do so? Because that’s effectively what this ridiculous program amounts to.

    I grew up extremely liberal in Montgomery County but living in DC for 7 years has changed my views a lot. It’s not about “the world being out to get me” its about the ridiculous overwrought liberal insanity that would lead people to think government should tax its citizens only to hand out the proceeds to restaurants so they can paint their facades and put in outdoor seating!! seriously?

  • Anon 9:20- 75% might come from gov’t sources, but not all from DC Govt., as I understood your initial post to imply.

    As I said, I am a hardcore republican (I voted for Bush not once, but twice – that shows real devotion) and I am not a believer in government handouts.

    That said, I’d like to highlight a real success story related to this or a similar grant, Moroni and Bros. Pizza. Arguably the best pizza place in the city, definitely my personal favorite, they’ve struggled at least in part because of their location. They received a similar small grant which helped them with some outreach work, including surveys, which helped direct their efforts. Moroni and Bros. emerged from the process a better and stronger local business, with write-ups in the Post and elsewhere. They’re still struggling, but doing better all the time. However, and perhaps even more important was the introduction of Fusion, right next store. One successful restaurant encouraged a second successful restaurant to come into the neighborhood and help improve a not great area.

    These grants are relatively small, but meaningful nonetheless. They represent a commitment to business and free enterprise and help to build communities. Most of these restaurants are barely, just barely making it, even if they seem successful to us.

  • Instead of volunteering, I happily pay taxes for programs to hire people to paint, that way, someone gets a job, a small, local business is helped out, and my tax dollars are well spent.

    Unlike you, I have no problem with pooled public money to better the community. Where I get upset is when the tax giveaways go to people or corporations or other entities that clearly don’t need it and are being greedy.

  • it’s crazy that anyone would think it better for a bureacrat working for the DC city government to decide whose facade gets painted than for you to keep your money and spend it as you wish on local businesses you wish to support, who can then choose to invest in their physical plant if they wish to do so.

    that’s exactly the sort of terminal liberal mindset that living in DC has awoken me to. The same mindset that justifies paying teenagers to cut down healthy trees, the same mindset that leads Mayor Barry to steer contracts to his mistress. so corrosive to the community.

  • Barry would be steering contracts whether or not taxes exist. And teenagers will cut down trees whether they are working for the gov’t or a private company when they aren’t trained and supervised properly.

    No place on Earth is tax-free. Sorry. Some shit has to be taken care of collectively. People are too selfish to leave it up to them individually.

  • i’m not arguing for dc to be tax free. there are a multitude of uses of public funds that I consider proper, from public transportation to ensuring children get primary health and dental care and education to the police and fire departments.

    per LEDC’s website, they spent almost a million dollars of tax dollars last year renovating private businesses’ facades. it is completely ridiculous, in a city that is making painful cuts to services that are actually needed by people, that we are handing out hundreds of thousands of dollars to owners of private businesses for upgrades to their facilities!!

  • Without small business assistance, you’d have no small businesses. Billions of tax dollars a year go to propping up BIG business. If anything needs to be curtailed, it’s that, not these drops in the bucket to help local, small business.

  • spoken like a true liberal. whatever.

  • Sounds like what we really need around here is some micro-lending progam like the Grameen Bank. LOAN small businesses the $500.00 at 5% interest. They paint and improve, or buy a sign or whatever they need to do to get more business, then make more money, repay the loan with the (modest) interest, and the money is there to help the next business.

    Tell you what – I’ll do it myself. If Yvette/LEDC can sort out the proposals and draw up the contract I’ll invest the cash. $500.00 -5% interest. Anyone else?

  • “Barry would be steering contracts whether or not taxes exist.”


  • don’t try to bring sanity or reason into this NAB – it’s much better just to whine about big corporations and pretend the DC city government can just magically conjure up money to paint politically connected businesses’ facades.

  • I like Victoria’s idea, anyone know who could make that legit?

  • Noble idea but it doesn’t make much business sense… the cost of creating the note/loan and the potential cost of filing liens against the business for failing to repay wouldn’t justify the risk you are taking on the your $500 to earn 5%. But then again, you are obviously free to gamble if you want… I’d suggest letting it ride on the roulette wheel.

  • or magic daddy government can just invent money! why waste your time planning and operating an efficient business when magic daddy government is there?

  • The increasing blur between the public sector and the private sector is not healthy.

  • Victoria – you may want to look into the various peer-to-peer lending facilities, although you probably won’t be able to enjoy a neighborhood meal at the location.

  • El Limeno! And a hearty second to Eric’s comment about the speakers – I rarely go there because of the volume.

  • Surprised no Klein/Yglesias types have gotten on here to pwn the right-leaning anon on this thread. This is DC, after all…

    Before that happens though, let me spell out what the argument against a grant like this might be. If we the people give a restaurant, a for-profit entity, a grant, we have trusted them as our “agent” to do something to improve the business in a way that has benefits to the community. The possibility that they won’t, that instead they’ll just use it all for their own benefit, is the moral hazard. Some might say it’s unlikely that the value of community improvement will be equal to or greater than $500. That’s a question of what is valued and the answer will vary by who you ask.

    To some, a more successful Il Limeno might be worth 750 or 1000 dollars. To others, it’s worth almost nothing. Is it fair for those to whom it’s worth less than 500 to pay more? Is it fair for those to whom it’s worth more (like… the owners of Il Limeno?) to pay only $500? Yes, I know the costs are distributed widely, no one actually pays exactly $500, but to the extent that gov’t is the agent of the people, for the people, the point is the same.

  • hoo boy.

    One of my major issues here is the cost of the oversight to monitor the $500 grant. I have a team of 22 people I manage. The average hourly rate for each employee is about $75. a one hour meeting of all 22 staff costs my clients about $1600.

    this $500 grant is probably managed by $10,000 worth of overhead.

    THAT is what I have issues with when people talk about economics. These groups are nothing but welfare for the politically connected.

  • Victoriam and others– 2 things:

    1st- LEDC does do microloans to businesses. That’s actually a large part of what they do. It’s nonprofits like these that largely administer SBA loans, as well (federal money).

    2nd- I know of at least one other place where you can do what you’re talking about:
    It’s a citizen-based lending site where you can provide loans for businesses, students, and others with debt and take the interest for yourself. People loan amounts like $250 mostly, but definitely more. You should check it out.

  • I don’t have any feeling for or against the $500 microgrants, but I think it is reasonable to note that we dole out corporate welfare on a far wider scale. It feels a little chintzy to scream about $500 when we’re all owners of the U.S. auto industry to the tune of billions and billions. Just brushing that off with a dismissive “spoken like a liberal” comment doesn’t seem helpful.

    Frankly, i would have rather have given a little bit to my business-owning neighbors than billions to GM. But I can understand the argument from someone who would rather we do neither.

    I don’t think that wanting a handout from the government is particularly liberal or conservative. When it comes to $$$, those kinds of distinctions disappear. Conservatives are able to make sure their cronies are taken care of, without a doubt. Welfare for the politically connected exists far beyond these microgrants.

  • These grants are free for alls, I’m confident they have conditions that must be met by the businesses AND LEDC to ensure they are being used properly.

  • Aren’t free for alls, sorry.

  • I vote for Acuario! Who is with me?

  • El Limeno for the grant….Liam for the coolest pet 😉

  • well said anon 3:49.

  • The only line that stuck out to me was about Moroni & Bros. Really the best pizza in DC? I was a little let down by Pete’s.

    Even though I prefer El Reconcito Deportivo, at least they have a sign. I vote Limeno.

  • Anon 3:49 – the GM bailout wasn’t about bailing out a Corporation is was about bailing out a Union – or really repaying a union for the voting base of its members. Ironically, the stimulus achieves the same thing by diverting funds to state and local governments to fund education (teacher’s union), construction projects (highly unionized), and continued employment of other state employees (all unionized).

    The grants are an inefficient way to redistribute money and is layered with bureaucracy. It would be much more effective to give an income tax credit to the owner who would qualify based on income limitations… this would also further encourage tax compliance. Less government translates into less union votes, not a priority for the Democrats.

  • Blaming the Union is blaming the workers for the mess their bosses got us all into. It’s intellectually lazy and factually incorrect. But it’s easy, and provides a nameless scape goat, so it continues.

  • i don’t think you are tracking what Dirty actually wrote. he’s not “blaming the union” he’s talking about the corrupting relationship between the democratic party and the unions. very different…

  • Well, there’s an even more corrupt relationship between the whole of Congress and corporations, if you ask me.
    But, of course, nobody did…

  • When you say “their bosses” you are referring to the corporate executives, but you should be referring to the union leadership, because they negotiated contracts which increased labor costs, legacy costs, and reduced productivity, which largely contributed to the flight of many of those “outsourced jobs” because of an unwillingness to adapt to the market. Rather than take a pay cut and work harder for a pay increase, the jobs left. See Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit… Those inflated labor costs/legacy costs and reduced productivity also define government unions… but you already know that since you aren’t intellectually lazy.

    Thanks anon 5:54, glad to see reading comprehension is still alive.

  • Seems to me that a contract negotiation includes management too, they agreed to those contracts, you can’t blame the Union for fighting for a better deal. Sheesh.

  • By agreed you mean… rather than have their employees and the entire network of UAW suppliers go on strike, they decided to accept the terms… sure they agreed, but as a consequence the union jobs continued to leave the country, thus opening the door to foreign/import brands manufacturing jobs being created in the Southern (anti-union) States. The democrats of course blame this on corporate greed and tax loopholes… most of which they (Democrats pre-1994) created over the years in Congress… but again you’re not intellectually lazy so you probably already know this…

  • Actually Dirty, if you read about the case of Toyota who decided to build a factory in Canada (WITH UAW workers) rather than the South of the US because Canada had a national healthcare system, you would understand that legacy costs have to do with a broken healthcare system in the US rather than workers who banded together to negotiate for a better wages.

    Not to mention, that bad business decisions, poor design choices and overall bad management had something to do with the automakers failures. Why do you only blame the unions? Did you give the unions credit when all of the SVU sales drove US automakers share up in the US years ago? Do you give unions credit for the success of Coca-Cola or UPS or other unionized companies?

    Also, as for government workers, the GW Bush government produced studies that showed that unionized government workers were actually more productive than out-sourced private contractors. But, you’re not intellectually lazy and a Republican, so I assume you read those reports, right?

  • 5:54: it’s not different at all. get real.

  • but again you

  • Dirty, your 5:04 comment is partially untrue. Tax credits are almost never more efficient than handing someone cash. The variable that we discussed in Econ was the 4th dimension- time.

    Hand someone cash now and they have cash now.

    Give someone a tax credit and they have that credit at the end of a three month period, presuming these businesses file quarterly.

    I believe, and correct me if I’m wrong, this falls under the Pigovian Tax vs the Pollution Tax Market. There is also some micro-economic theory about giving people something that meets their needs vs giving them a future credit for the same value. This is why food stamp recipients get food stamps which are not money on a regular basis NOW vs getting a monetary tax credit later.

    Essentially, if you buy some store a sign now they have a sign now. If you give them a tax credit in 3 months they owe $500 less on their taxes in three months and spend the money as they see fit- which may have a flat or even negative impact on the community who would benefit from the nice new sign. Remember that it’s the community who gets to decide what their benefit is from the business owner, not the business owner who gets to decide what to do with the public’s money.

  • Col Heights – please post the source of your of Toyota in Canada with UAW workers, I would think they would use a CAW workforce… unless they are attempting to take advantage of currency aribitrage. Surely you are referring to NUMMI made Toyota’s. On Canada’s health care system…

    I am speaking to the UAW and not all private sector unions. Fed Ex and Pepsi are non-union, direct competitors likely keeping wages/beni’s at market. How can you argue that the UAW didn’t make the proper concessions?

    Neener – I’m speaking to the administration of a credit verse a grant, not the economic impact. Spending $10,000 to administer $500 is a poor investment, it’s economic outcome likely not positive. While the $10,000 is an aribitrary number… our governments are continuously operating in the red… so we know they don’t make good decisions, but they never go out of business.

    Again, I’m not blaming the worker… they believe the union is acting in their best interest, obviously this is not always the case…

    Neener – healthy skepticism with comments like “management agreed too also” is intelectually lazy. I’m an Independent who happens to believe that unions are outdated… efficient capital allocation is the name of the game, while you may not like that jobs go to Mexico, they can and will to exploit labor imbalances…

  • Toyotas made in the US are made with Union labor, they seem to compete just fine with non-union made Nissans in the same class. The only reason labor is exploited in Mexico and other places is because those countries’ governments conspire with the U.S government and CEO’s to allow the exploitation to occur, e.g. NAFTA. Unions are part of the solution, not the problem. When they are run right (which I’ll concede is not always the case) they serve as a check on exploitation, not a furtherance of it. The UAW got what they could for the workers. The UAW made major concessions over the past several decades. The U.S. auto industry failed because it didn’t anticipate well enough the end of the SUV era.

  • Sorry you are incorrect

    Only some Corrolla and Tacomas are made by union… which are made at the NUMMI plant (as I stated).

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