October 14, 2021 — Today, The Cleveland Chain Reaction program announced the winners of the city of Cleveland economic development project’s fourth season live at Tower City on Fox 8’s Kickin’ with Kenny.
The grand prize winner of a $40,000 grant is Cathy’s Gourmet Ice Cream Sandwiches. Cathy’s is a gourmet ice cream sandwich shop that specializes in pairing freshly baked cookies with tons of unique ice cream flavors. Cathy’s currently has two locations – one on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland and a second in Atlanta, Georgia.
The program also awarded two second-place winners with $20,000 grants – Latino Taste to Go and Ready Set! Coffee Roasters. Latino Taste to Go is a carry-out restaurant on Cleveland’s eastside that provides a made-to-order experience with the truly authentic taste of Caribbean and Latin American-inspired dishes. Ready Set! Coffee Roasters is a small-batch artisanal roasting company with e-commerce sales, wholesale business and a roastery and full-service cafe located in the Gordon Square Arts District.
CityBreaks Barbershop, Play Maysie, and Vitiman Kandie were each awarded $10,000 grants as the program’s three third-place winners. CityBreaks Barbershop offers a range of services from hot lather shaves to just about any traditional and current trend style haircuts. The business provides the opportunity for barbers to rent booth space to serve their clients. Play Maysie – A Portable World of Play has created the first truly portable dollhouses. Inspired by vintage tin lunchboxes, the cases fold out on both sides to create interchangeable, magnetic rooms with fixed wooden furniture. Vitiman Kandie’s innovative line of natural herbs and juices offers nutrition on the go for those in pursuit of improving their personal health including options for weight loss and healthy eating habits, and farm-to-table affordable meals and drinks.
Each of the remaining 17 semi-finalists also received $3,000 grants funded by Huntington Bank, Bedrock, JumpStart, and Cleveland Neighborhood Progress.
“It has been an absolutely inspiring and energizing experience to watch these entrepreneurs grow over the last twelve weeks as a part of the Cleveland Chain Reaction program,” said Megan Kim, Executive Director of the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s small business division COSE. “These owners have passion, grit, and a drive to succeed – and I am certain each and every one of them will do amazing things within the city of Cleveland.”
Yet, there were even more surprises in store for some of the semi-finalists. Cleveland Chain Reaction partner Bedrock presented two of the winners and one semi-finalist – CityBreaks Barbershop, Play Maysie and Styles of Imagination with a combined 21 months of brick and mortar tenancy at Tower City Center. The stores are set to open in the coming months. And partner COhatch Cleveland provided a year of coworking membership for Launcharts Media.
“Partnering with Cleveland Chain Reaction competition has shown us how much entrepreneurial talent there is in Cleveland, which is exactly what we want to see more of at Tower City,” said Ivy Greaner, Chief Operating Officer at Bedrock. “CityBreaks Barbershop, Play Maysie and Styles of Imagination had that extra something special that we believe to be an ideal fit for the destination marketplace atmosphere we are developing in one of downtown Cleveland’s busiest locations.”
Additionally, Cleveland Hustles Investors Alan Glazen (also Cleveland Chain Reaction founder) and Kathy Futey returned to surprise two of the semi-finalists – Coco’s Chalky Powder and The Home Pantry – with an offer to provide whatever resources the entrepreneurs need to help them achieve their goals. Coco’s Chalky Paint Powder mixes with any flat latex or acrylic paints to make a smooth mixture of chalk paint ready for painting. The Home Pantry is a food production company focusing on bringing high-quality and handmade products to the greater Cleveland community. They make jams, top-quality spices and herbs, salt and sugar blends, and a variety of kitchen mixes.
“Having been there from the start with our devotion to small business within the city of Cleveland, we are proud of how the Chain Reaction team has perpetuated our early efforts,” said Glazen. “And we are delighted to be able to contribute further toward the goals which we hold dear to our hearts.”
The top 23 finalists participated in a six-week boot camp at JumpStart to best prepare them on how to present themselves and their business to investors. Each business had the opportunity to pitch their business and articulate how they would use the $40,000 grand prize to grow their company and bring benefit to the city of Cleveland at the Business Pitch Showcase days on September 29th and 30th.
“JumpStart is honored to work, once again, with Cleveland Chain Reaction partners to advance entrepreneurship in our communities and neighborhoods,” said JumpStart Chief Inclusion and Outreach Officer Lamont Mackley. “The work accomplished through this program is so central to JumpStart’s mission and it encompasses the needs of many small business owners. Participants received the technical assistance, capital and networking connections they need to scale their companies.”
The Cleveland-based neighborhood economic development program started in 2016. Since its inception, the program has received more than 400 applications, supported 88 small businesses, connected winning businesses to nearly $1.7M in capital, and provided nearly 400 hours of technical assistance. Chain Reaction has also showcased the amazing amenities of nine different Cleveland Neighborhoods.
“Over the past 4 seasons, Cleveland Chain Reaction has played a vital role in fostering community and economic development within Cleveland’s neighborhoods by supporting small businesses and the CDCs that provide critical services to them”, said Tania Menesse, CEO of Cleveland Neighborhood Progress. “We look forward to working with our program and CDC partners to assist this season’s small business cohort through their entrepreneurial journey.”
About Cleveland Chain Reaction:
The Cleveland Chain Reaction Program is being produced to create jobs, investment and prosperity in Cleveland’s neighborhoods while providing education and information for entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners to benefit our community.
The Cleveland Chain Reaction follows in the footsteps of the CNBC/LeBron James “Cleveland Hustles,” a reality television series that aired on CNBC in 2016. While inspired by Cleveland Hustles, The Cleveland Chain Reaction is an independent and unrelated effort with some of the same Clevelanders involved to support the continued opportunity that Cleveland Hustles sparked.
Cleveland Chain Reaction is produced by Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP), the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Small Business Division The Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE), Cleveland Development Advisors, and JumpStart and is being featured on air by Cleveland’s local news station, FOX 8.
Learn more about Cleveland Chain Reaction at www.clevelandchainreaction.org.