A boost for small business — Akron awards ARPA funds to community

AKON, Ohio – With busy streets and bustling businesses in Akon, the pandemic may feel like a thing of the past. However, for many business owners and entrepreneurs, the price of prevailing through tough times was too high to pay.

Chris Sork is the co-owner of Eight Three Breweries, located in the historic Goodyear Building on Akron’s East Side. They opened in August 2019, just months before the pandemic.

“You’re trying to run a new business and six months into the whole business landscape changes,” he said.

It was not an easy time, to say the least.

“The whole premise of our business was to create a social environment where people could come together and hang out,” Sorke said. said the pig.

Thanks to their quality beer and quality customers, they succeeded. Now, albeit a little later than their original schedule, they are finally expanding into a pizza kitchen as well.

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That’s what $10,000 from the City of Akron’s American Rescue Plan Act funds can help achieve. Eight Three Breweries is one of 100 small, local businesses that the city gave $10,000.

“If we had done all of this earlier, at first, I don’t know how we would have handled the new business with the food side and then COVID would have stopped everything at the same time,” he said.

According to a city press release, of the 100 businesses, 43 are minority-owned and 40 are women-owned. Applicants selected for grant money represent businesses as diverse as bars and restaurants, health care, auto repair, barber shops, entertainment venues, construction, and more.

“Every day we hear stories of how our small businesses have stepped up through the height of the pandemic to care for their customers, their employees and their communities,” said Katie Brake, director of strategic development, in a press release. “These grants are our way of reducing the impact they’ve experienced from COVID-19 and putting these once-in-a-generation funds back into the community. We’re excited to support our small businesses in this way.

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For Brent Weasley, better known as the Weasley Keeper, the funds are a sweet reward for keeping his head up and following his dream. He is the owner of Akron Honey.

“We decided to become a full-time brand when the pandemic was in full force,” he said. “We’re really about flavor through honey. We look at what people eat and we create honey flavors that really work well with whatever they’re eating.

Akron Honey is also expanding its operations. Wesley said the money will be used for equipment he needs.

“It can do a lot of different things for a small brand, for big brands it might be like one or two things, but for us it does a lot.” “It allows us to measure with some of the equipment that we have so that we can achieve better efficiency and that we can prepare ourselves in the future so that the dining experience can be a little better.”

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Click here for more information about Akron ARPA business recipients.

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