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Dayton introduces new program, invests $7 million in ‘first floor’ businesses

DAYTON — The City of Dayton has announced a program to help entrepreneurs develop first floor business across the city using American Rescue Plan Act dollars.

The city approved $7 million for the “First Floor Plan” as part of what leaders are calling “The Dayton Recovery Plan.”

Luke Tandy opened Skeleton Dust Records in the fire district block on East Third Street five years ago.

“I wanted to open a record space and this was an available spot downtown,” Tandy said.

He knows the patience and persistence a new business owner must have.

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He’s happy that the city will use American Rescue Act funds to boost the next wave of entrepreneurs.

“I see no problem with the use of the money that way, to invest in small business on the first floor,” Tandy said.

Dayton City Manager Shelly Dickstein said citywide development corporation will help them administer the program.

Businesses will apply for loans, some of them forgivable, for machinery, building renovations or working capital.

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The city is emphasizing minority and women owned businesses with this program.

“We want to make sure these are good investments, that we are bringing capital to people that really need it but that they are also set up for success,” Dickstein said.

Charlynda Scales and her two partners received a $750,000 loan to open their 6888 Kitchen incubator business.

They are opening a very large commercial kitchen that will provide space for many start-up food and beverage businesses to grow.

The $7 million approved for the first floor fund is a small part of the $138 million the city received from ARPA funds.

The biggest chunk $55 million, will be going to neighborhood projects and the city is working to finalize those plans.