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COVID-19 stabilization grants awarded to 31 Onondaga County small businesses

By Eric Reinhardt


SYRACUSE — CenterState CEO has awarded $150,000 in stabilization-grant funding to a total of 31 small businesses in Onondaga County that were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions. 

Grants of up to $5,000 were distributed to businesses in health and wellness, service, hospitality, and lifestyle industries, prioritizing businesses that were ineligible for emergency-relief funding through the U.S. Small Business Administration, CenterState CEO announced on June 18.

The grants provided “immediate” cash to cover payroll and other expenses incurred during the pandemic. Besides the grant, businesses can also take advantage of technical assistance and one-on-one consultation.

KeyBank Business Boost & Build C.U.S.E. Collaborative is providing the technical assistance for all grant applicants. Those involved include CenterState CEO’s Up Start program, the South Side Innovation Center, WISE Women’s Business Center, and the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance.

“This fund was intended to fill identified gaps in available emergency relief funding. Many of these businesses were unable to access the Paycheck Protection Program and other federal relief funding sources,” Robert Simpson, president and CEO of CenterState CEO, said. “These grants provide businesses disproportionally hit by the public health and economic crisis with needed capital. We are also working with partners to secure funding for a second round of grants.”

Of the grant recipients, 74 percent are women-owned and 64 percent are minority-owned, CenterState CEO said. 

“I was really excited when I found out I was awarded a grant. So many small businesses are struggling right now. This grant will help cover bills so that I can stay afloat, and I may actually be able to get ahead of the game,” said Wayne Wright of The Wright Cut Barbershop.

CenterState CEO’s Up Start program administered the fund. It was part of a plan to deploy $500,000 in relief funds to small-business communities throughout upstate New York in response to the economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

The KeyBank Business Boost & Build Program, powered by Cleveland, Ohio–based JumpStart, provided the funding.

“As we reopen our economy, this crucial funding will help businesses challenged by COVID-19 rebound and sustain,” Stephen Fournier, KeyBank’s Central New York market president, said.     

Grant recipients

CenterState CEO said the grant money went to the following 31 firms:

• A Taste of Philadelphia

• African & Caribbean Central Market

• All Money Spends

• All Times Promotional Products, dba Spinnaker Custom Products

• BulBul, LLC

• Cathy’s Cookie Kitchen


• CNY Latino

• Divine Destiny

• Guleyso Learning Childcare

• Half Moon Bakery & Bistro, LLC

• It Takes a Village Daycare

• Kin Architecture Studio, PLLC

• L Stacks Construction Co. LLC

• Mindbody Connection Massage and Fitness

• Miss Prissy’s

• Mixed Methods

• Mr. Biggs Restaurant LLC

• Mystic Side Gift and Book

• Pb&j’s Lunchbox, LLC

• Pearfect Productions

• R.H.Fire, LLC


• Red Racer Auto Finishers, Inc., dba Grace Auto Body and Paint

• Plus Sign & Graphics

• Southside Fitness

• The Creators Lounge

• The Floral Gardens

• UniqueImpact, Inc.

• Volpe Nails of Cicero, LLC

• The Wright Cut Barbershop

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