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Brewing Help for Small Businesses

Storefronts to the Forefront grants support the heart of Goshen and other local business districts.

by Sarah M. Mullins

Julie Casey and her husband Terry dreamed of owning their own coffee shop and embedding Themselves in a community, so they took the leap and opened Goshen Grind in that eastern suburb. Their business, though, is more than just a coffee shop that regularly receives rave reviews from locals and newbies for its espressos—it’s become a haven for area residents.

Beyond the drinks they serve, Julie and Terry stay true to their mission of service and being active community members. Last year when a tornado struck the Goshen area, they knew they had a responsibility to serve as a hub of support for those who lost their homes. What started as a small cookout grew into two weeks serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner with help from community partners.

Their 1,000-square-foot shop is a humble space, but their generosity has a ripple effect beyond last year’s disaster relief. A couple weeks out of the month the Caseys dedicate their tip jar to helping those in need, and Thomas Deere, vice president of sales and engagement at the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, says their community support is noticed. Businesses like Goshen Grind are why the Chamber partnered with Duke Energy to launch the Storefronts to the Forefront program.

“Small businesses are the heart of the community by serving as a place where people can come together,” says Deere. “No matter what business district you’re looking at, they foster a sense of community and belonging. These storefronts are the backbone of our regional economy, and for us to support them just helps the community as a whole.”

The program’s goal is to help increase visibility of small businesses in the region by providing $5,000 grants. Recipients can use the funds for capital improvements, marketing support, expansion investments, or other growth-related efforts.

The Caseys were awarded one of five grants in 2023, the program’s second year, and plan to use the money to create an outdoor patio with more seating space since their indoor space is limited. If funds remain, they’ll also work on creating a mobile extension of the shop.

Photographs by Devyn Glista

“We do a lot of different things with the community and donate back as much as we can,” says Julie. “This $5,000 is huge for us, and we are so grateful that we’re able to do something for our business with that. We don’t want to just supply local roasted coffee—we want to be a part of something positive overall for our community.” Other recipients of the 2023 Storefronts to the Forefront grants include Mt. Washington Creamy Whip, King Arthur’s Court Toys in Oakley, Two Seven Two Bakery in Clifton, and Roebling Books & Coffee in Dayton, Kentucky.

In 2022, the program supported business districts in East Price Hill, Loveland, Milford, Madisonville, New Richmond, Norwood, Reading, and Walnut Hills as well as Bellevue, Ft. Thomas, and Ludlow in Northern Kentucky.

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Realm is a quarterly print publication connecting area executives with each other and with news, resources, and opportunities designed to help them succeed and is mailed to more than 4,500 executives throughout the region. The joint project of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and Cincinnati Magazine was named Best Business Publication in Ohio by the Cleveland Press Club’s 2020 Excellence in Journalism Awards.

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