Photo Caption: (L-R): Knegleshia Smothers-Cobb, owner of StyleHaven, was awarded amongst 50 Madison County businesses, to receive $5,000 grants to assist in COVID-19 recovery efforts. She is pictured with Mayor Tommy Battle, City of Huntsville who attended the press conference on Friday, June 19, 2020. (SON photo credit)
Photo Caption: Mary Ellen Judah, Executive Director for Neighborhood Concepts (SON photo credit)

(HUNTSVILLE, AL) – – Neighborhood Concepts will hold a press conference and reception on Friday, June 19 th at 3:00 pm at Offbeat Coffee Studio at Campus 805 to honor 50 Madison County businesses selected to receive $5,000 grants to assist in COVID-19 recovery efforts. Neighborhood Concepts, a Huntsville based non-profit, received a $250,000 grant from Facebook’s Huntsville Data Center to support local businesses impacted by the ongoing public health pandemic. With these funds, Neighborhood Concepts announced its Open for Business grant program in mid-May. The program was designed to offer financial assistance so local businesses could open back up and have the tools they needed to resume normal operations while ensuring the safety of their employees and customers.

“From what we have seen so far, the magnitude of COVID-19 has been significant and is touching a wide range of businesses. The number of applications received was almost three times the funding that we had available, and all of the applicants clearly had experienced hardships related to the closures and restrictions that we have seen due to COVID-19. The grant selection committee worked hard to ensure that grant funds would benefit a diverse group of local businesses throughout Madison County with the greatest need,” said NCI Executive Director Mary Ellen Judah. Almost 75% of the businesses selected for grants were those most impacted by the shutdowns and restrictions, such as restaurants and food trucks; hair and nail salons and barber shops; childcare centers; and gyms or fitness centers. Forty-six percent (46%) of businesses funded are minority owned businesses and 56% are women-owned businesses. Awardee businesses are located in 18 different zip codes throughout Madison County. When contacting the awardees, Neighborhood Concepts noticed an underlying theme of relief in the responses they received. “The support of this grant takes a weight off my shoulders as I continue to navigate this post COVID world,” said Mark Stahl of Das Stahl Bierhaus. Keith Hill of I Love Bacon said. “This is really going to save the day for our people.” The idea behind the grant was perhaps best summed up by Tamie Bacon of Snickerpoodles Children’s Consignment Shoppe who said “The concept of a neighborhood is being there for each other, picking each other up and supporting each other through good times and hard times and Neighborhood Concepts embodies all that is good in a neighborhood.” Neighborhood Concepts, Inc. is a Huntsville non-profit with a 30-year history of strengthening communities through the development of affordable housing and advancement of economic opportunity for underserved populations and in underserved communities