Third-Round Recipients for H Street NE Retail Priority Grant Program

Photo by PoPville flickr user mosley.brian

From a press release:

Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Victor L. Hoskins today announced the third round of awards for the H Street NE Retail Priority Grant Program. The grants are meant to stimulate small-business development and expansion while also creating new job opportunities for District residents along the emerging H Street NE retail-and-entertainment corridor and the surrounding area.

Awardees include:

· Barracks Row Main Street, located at 731 8th Street SE: a non-profit charged with advocating for commercial enterprises along the corridor and servicing those enterprises through case work, publications and other tools will use its $27,390 grant for increased technical assistance to business owners who might not otherwise be able to improve their buildings and operations through the redevelopment of interior and exterior spaces.

· The Daily Rider, LLC, located at 1108 H Street NE: a full-service bicycle shop that offers a full range of bicycle repair and customization services will use its $85,000 grant for improvements to its façade, interior and rear exterior space. Improvements to the building’s rear will allow the company to host biking-related classes and events to better serve its customers and the surrounding community.

· Dynamic Health & Wellness, located at 402 H Street NE: a unique health-focused store that primarily offers natural nutritional pre-packaged food products, herbal products and tea products will use its $13,850 grant to perform long-needed building upgrades to bring the business up to par with its neighbors in its revitalized block.

· Hunted House, located at 510 H Street NE: a new business to the H street corridor, it offers quality pieces of mid-century modern furniture, art and accessories at affordable prices. Its $5,000 grant will be used to cover the cost of exterior upgrades, including signage, as well as the purchase of needed retail equipment.

· Koffee Boutique, located at 1204 H Street NE: a new clothing boutique catering to women is owned by a District native and will use its $85,000 grant to renovate the space and purchase equipment.

· Metro Mutts, located at 508 H Street NE: a pet store that specializes in top-quality pet supplies and services for passionate pet owners and their dogs, cats and small animals. It will use its $51,795 grant to maximize its existing space in order to increase sales and lower operating costs.

· Passion for Fitness, located at 408 H Street NE: a sports-and-fitness location that opened in 2007 with a mission to provide one-to-one fitness training for local residents and professionals, it will use its $42,000 grant for interior build-out.

The grant program was created by the H Street NE Retail Priority Area Incentive Act of 2010. The program’s three phases were administered by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. First-round awards were announced on January 10, 2012. Second-round awards were announced on May 4, 2012. Third-round awardees were selected out of a pool of 16 applicants who submitted applications for the grants by the June 22, 2012 deadline.

Additional H Street Retail Priority Area grant funds have been made available in the Fiscal Year 2013 budget, and an information session will be held at the H Street Playhouse, located at 1365 H Street NE, on November 7, 2012 at 6:45 p.m. More information about the grant program can be found here: H Street NE Retail Priority Area Project Grant.

22 Comment

  • Are you friggin kidding me? H Street businesses are not suffering. At all. If anything they are going to explode as development continues.

    We need to focus our resources on creating other H Streets. Or, you know, funding our homeless shelters, police departments, lead pipe replacement, flood/sewer system upgrades, etc.

    This is a load of crap. I’m all for government support for worthy causes but a friggin bike shop shouldn’t receive $85k.

  • And the first award for “H Street Retail Grant” goes to…. Barracks Row Main Street. A non profit (non-retail) organization aimed to attract businesses to 8th St SE, an entirely different part of town. Am I missing something here?

    Link to website:

  • And the first award for the H Street Retail Grant goes to…. Barracks Row Main Street. A non-profit (non-retail) organization whose mission is to attract businesses to 8th St SE, a completely different part of town. Am I missing something here?

    Link to their website:

  • Most of these places will close within the next 5 years. Stop giving money away. This is crap.

  • What a joke. Handing out tens of thousands of dollars to H Street? Should this go somewhere that actually needs the funds and development isn’t already fully throttle?

    • Allison

      Agreed. This use of funds leaves me extremely uneasy. Seems like we have much higher priorities elsewhere.

    • Development on H St is far from “full throttle”. Walk from 3rd & H and 15th & H and count how many abandoned storefronts (or barely surviving businesses) you pass. You act like H St is Georgetown (which has its share of vacant space too, but nowhere near H St levels).

      • So let’s collect tax dollars and hand them to businesses that are already there, right? Instead of reducing taxes and making the city more attractive for business?

        • Yes, so those businesses can stay vibrant, which will encourage further business development. A lot of businesses open and close quickly on the H Street corridor. The hardest part of maintaining a business is in the first few years. so it makes sense to allocate a few grants to keep innovative businesses that add to the retail mix going in the tough beginning years, till the streetcar is rolling, which will encourage investment in empty storefronts by investors who actually see businesses on the corridor lasting a few years, instead of opening and closing relatively quickly like, say, Pap & Petey’s.

      • A. It is being allocated to existing businesses not abandoned ones to spur new openings

        B. Sure H Street has empty store fronts but those are being filled up faster than any area of the city. “Giving” money to areas that don’t need the nudge and have market forces already driving development is irresponsible

  • wow, what an absurd misallocation of tax dollars.

    talk about potential for corruption, by the way. i’m sure no kickbacks occurred anywhere along the way to these grants getting made. lol.

  • Wait, a bike store that, from their website:

    Only offers one small line of British bikes
    One line of helmets
    One line of garters to keep skirts from flying up.

    And we’re giving them the better part of $100k?

    I’m going to finally open my bike store I’ve been talking about. Fort Totten, here I come. I believe there is some open space next to 7-11.

    • The Daily Rider is an awesome bike store. There’s a huge difference between actually visiting a retail location and browsing a website. I think your opinion of them might be more informed if you walk in the store and interact with the very friendly and helpful staff.

      • if it is a great bike store then it should make enough money to afford its own improvements.

      • I agree they are awesome but an $85,000 taxpayer funded grant should not be awarded on “awesomeness”. I live on H Street and support these businesses, but these awards are ridiculous.

  • What about giving the money to Kennedy Street? That seems like it is in more need than H Street.

    • Kennedy Street has been the recipient of several grants over the past four years. At one point they were managed directly by the City, then by a neighborhood non profit.

  • Couple of things,

    1) Why can’t people be happy when small businesses get a needed break? The money is not going to “H Street”, but to business owners to improve their operations. I don’t know if anyone here actually owns their own business – especially a new one – but it’s not a lucrative endeavor.

    2) There ARE grants, like the Neighborhood Investment Fund, that offer economic development opportunities to other neighborhood centers.

    3) It is precisely this type of government investment that has gotten H Street this far. Complaining about this type of spending is like saying “great job EPA, you’ve gotten rid of the toxic plum that was the air we breath – so you can stop what you’re doing now…”

    4) If you pay attention, you’ll notice that these are retail shops or ones that provide services to the community. They can’t rely on alcohol sales to pay the (increasingly higher) rent. The Daily Rider is not just an excellent shop, they provide a service to a community that did not have a bike shop. Even better, they stay open longer and serve as one more place that puts “eyes on the street” in the evening. Oh, and they sell high quality bikes that are inexpensive.

    • K lets help all small business owners in dc. Lower taxes and stop fining them non stop. Most of these business will not last. I bet if these were low interest loans these businesses would not have taken them. This is just free money. If a business is not able to produce profit to pay for improvements that is a telling sign. Dc has done enough for h st. Let the area grow on its own.

  • No problem with H street businesses getting funds but Barracks Row? Really??? How does that help H Street? I’d love to hear the justication.
    Folks complaining about H Street grants are thinking small, they should look at Barracks row, and the MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars spent there and on projects less than a block away. (the Naval Hospital and Eastern Market)

  • If DC govt. could get it’s s**t together to simply facilitate the red tape new businesses have to deal with – to do inspections/reviews/licenses in a timely manner – it would be worth ten times these stupid grants. Every month they delay is essentially a tax on a business owner or landlord for thousands of dollars.

    If every govt. official who devoted time and energy to these grants were assigned to facilitate the opening of new businesses or properties I bet we’d have a dozen or more new tax generating – people employing opportunities now.

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