2018 great year for small business growth in Louisville

December 28, 2018

2018 was a banner year for small business growth in Louisville Metro with 30 small businesses being approved for loans totaling nearly $2.3 million by the Louisville Metro Departments of Economic Development and Resilience and Community Services. The loans will leverage a total investment of nearly $12 million.  

Between July-December 2018 alone, 17 businesses were approved for loans totaling nearly $1 million. The loans will leverage a total investment of more than $1.5 million and will assist the businesses to open, expand services or rehabilitate properties.

METCO business loans, administered through Department of Economic Development, have been awarded to the following businesses:  

  • Three loans have been approved for the expansion of Shack in the Back BBQ restaurant to be located at 10706 Manslick Road in the heart of Fairdale. Shack in the Back opened in fall 2006 and due to popularity, has outgrown its original space located at 406 Mt. Holly Road. The funds will assist owners Michael and Barbara Sivells in recreating the rustic atmosphere that exists at their current location, buildout of the kitchen and general interior renovations, and the addition of ADA compliant bathrooms.
    • $200,000 gap financing loan
    • $100,000 façade loan
    • $20,000 accessibility loan
  • Two loans have been approved for OHR Properties for the property located at 2308 W. Market Street. The loans will allow owner Tami Hartley to make façade improvements including new siding, trim, and gutters, and also will be used for electric, plumbing, HVAC and general interior renovations. Upon completion of the renovation, Hartley’s business, OHR, Inc., will occupy the building.
    • $100,000 façade loan
    • $50,000 midi loan
  • Two loans have been approved for Michael Glen Wade, LLC dba Liberty Tax for the property located at 1300 W. Broadway. The funds will allow owners Michael Sirls and Matthew Johnson to make exterior renovations including new windows, shutters and a front door, and also will be used to make the building ADA compliant with a new wheelchair ramp and bathrooms. Upon completion of the renovations, Liberty Tax will operate in the building. This will be Sirls’ and Johnson’s second Liberty Tax franchise.
    • $52,000 façade loan
    • $25,500 business accelerator loan 
  • $75,816 façade loan has been approved for Bruce Cohen. for the property located at 3200 Rudd Avenue in the Portland neighborhood. The funds will allow the owner to bring the building back to its historic beauty with new windows, doors, a garage door, cornice, gutters and siding. Once the project is complete, Cohen plans to lease the first floor to a commercial business. The second floor will be leased as a two-bedroom apartment. The property has been added to the national Register of Historic Places and been rezoned for commercial use.
  • $50,000 midi loan has been approved for Havana Bakery, Café & Store, LLC located at 5510 Fern Valley Road in Newburg. The loan will allow owner Ernesto Barrios Gonzalez to expand his business into a larger space on an adjacent lot and open a grocery/market. Havana Bakery, Café & Store offers Cuban and Latin American cuisine, and house-made pastries and desserts.
  • $30,000 business accelerator loan has been approved for Moorman Mental Health Services, LLC to assist owner Asha Moorman with opening a mental health services office at 3276 Commerce Center Place. The funds will be used for the buildout of the office and will provide working capital for the startup business.
  • $27,000 façade loan has been approved for Matthew and Aleasha Huested for the property located at 832 Brookline Avenue in the Beechmont Avenue. The funds will allow the owners to renovate the street-facing façade, which contributes to the aesthetic of the neighborhood. Upon completion of the renovation, the owners hope to lease the space as either a retail shop, mechanical services shop, restaurant, laundry or a different type of specialty service shop.
  • $25,000 midi loan has been approved for Brown Brothers Refrigeration for its building located at 6521 Greenwood Avenue in the Chickasaw neighborhood. The funds will allow owners to repair the roof and purchase a new software system. Brown Brothers Refrigeration was established by William P. Brown in 1981. His daughter Sherri Brown now runs the business and relocated to west Louisville in 2017.

Microbusiness Development Program loans, administered through the Office of Resilience and Community Services, have been awarded to the following businesses:

  • $5,000 loan to Cheynee Lee dba Lee’s Butterfliesto assist the owner with rent, insurance and supplies. Lee’s Butterflies is a childcare home located in the Cane Run Road neighborhood.
  • $5,000 loan to Lakeisha Oliver dba K.O. Cleaning Serviceto assist with insurance, rent and inventory. K.O. Cleaning Services provides residential, small office and apartment cleaning services.
  • $5,000 loan to Diedre Lee dba Sweet Dreams Baked Goods, LLC to assist the owner with supplies, insurance and event marketing materials.
  • $6,000 loan to Expressive Salon LLC to assist owner Vania Walker with rental, supplies, and insurance. She will be locating on Preston Highway corridor.
  • $6,500 loan to Family Matters Exchange & Visitation Center to assist owner Carletta Kilgore with rent, supplies and insurance.
  • $7,500 loan to MooMoo’s House LLC dba MooMoo’s Children Enrichment Center to assist owner Nakristia Pitts with rent, insurance and supplies.
  • $15,000 loan to Safari International Grocery Store to assist owner Jawahir Omar Jama with production, food purchase, a walk-in-freezer, rent and insurance. The store is located at 1900 Crums Lane.
  • $15,000 loan to Oluseyi Victoria Akinfenwa dba Unique Events & Concepts to assist owner with purchasing inventory, party equipment, furniture and a box truck. 
  • $15,000 loan to I.D. Remodeling, LLC to assist owner Desmond Conley with purchase of supplies and equipment. 

The Metropolitan Business Development Corporation (METCO) governs metro government's small business loans, which include facade, accessibility, and gap financing loans. Because metro government is not the primary lender, the loan program allows many public-private partnerships between government and private business ventures that further the vitality and quality of life in the Louisville community.


The METCO board meets the fourth Thursday of each month. Meetings begin at 9:00 a.m., at the offices of Louisville Forward, located at 444 S. 5th Street, 6th floor. The meeting schedule for 2019 is January 24, February 28, March 28, April 25, May 23, June 27, July 25, August 22, September 26, October 24 and December 12.


To learn more about the METCO loan program, visit



The Microbusiness Development Program helps low and moderate income business owners with starting and growing small businesses. A microbusiness employs five or fewer people, including the owner. The program includes training, technical assistance and an opportunity to apply for a loan, which can range from $5,000 to $15,000.


Many microbusinesses have little or no access to the commercial banking sector, and this loan program helps business owners who need capital. Borrowers have a choice of two programs, one for businesses which have been open for at least one year, and one for start-up businesses.


For more information about the Microbusiness Development Program, visit the Small Business Clinic at the Nia Center, 2900 W. Broadway, or visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/resilience-and-community-services/microbusiness-program.