HUDSON — The Galvan Foundation and Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson announced grant awards totaling $100,000 to 13 minority-owned small businesses in Hudson and Columbia County.
The recipients include 3J Customs, a custom apparel company; Chimba, an artwork brand; Collins Kitchen, a Caribbean cuisine catering company; Grandma’s Kitchen, a soul-food catering company; Hazel’s Essentials, an all-natural wellness brand; I’m Beauty Store, a beauty product shop; Janet Oar, a sustainable furniture store; LYF Fitness, a custom-training gym; M&J’s Unisex Hair Salon, a barbershop and training site; Martin Audio Video Services, an online marketing service; Shakesphere’s, a bakery; The Eagle, a market focused on Hispanic products; and What’s Really Good, a barbecue company.
The 13 businesses were chosen from about 30 applicants by a committee consisting of a representative from the Galvan Foundation and two community members.
No elected officials had a hand in the selection, Johnson said.
The criteria for selection included goals and budget breakdown, a strategic business plan, viability for long-term success over five to 10 years, positive impact on community, economic growth potential, and ability to overcome challenges, Johnson said.
The initiative’s goal is to support long-term growth for minority-owned businesses that show potential to grow over the coming years.
“Galvan Foundation believes everyone deserves to have a home in this city and a chance to thrive. Minority-owned businesses are the heart of Hudson. With these grants, we are proud to play a role in ensuring that these businesses can overcome challenges, serve our community, and grow,” Galvan Vice President of Initiatives Dan Kent said in the announcement.
Johnson acknowledged the strain that COVID-19 put on Hudson’s businesses.
“I look forward to seeing all they will contribute to our community,” Johnson said in the announcement.
Jamar Johnson, owner of 3J Customs, said the grant will help him acquire equipment to improve his business.
“The grant will impact my business in many ways. One major way is giving me the opportunity to acquire the equipment that will keep me competitive in the customs field, which in turn will enable me to hire people from our community to be a part of 3J Customs,” he said.
He has not learned the amount he has received, but the dollar figure isn’t important to him, Jamar Johnson said.
“As someone who was formerly incarcerated and working hard to change my life for my children, the amount really didn’t matter to me. The opportunity to show my craft and teach entrepreneurship to them was more than a dollar value,” he said.
He was told he will receive an agreement within the next few days regarding the funds, where he will find out the amount, he said.
LYF Fitness owner Kylah Campeta said the grant will contribute to rent and to the software system for the gym’s website.
“The grant allows us to reopen our doors and redo our website so we can open,” she said.
LYF Fitness hosted online training while it was shuttered for five months.
“We didn’t think we would be online for this long, like everyone else,” she said.
The gym is now doing a mix of in-person and online instruction. LYF Fitness mainly offers one-on-one training, but it also offers online spin classes.
Campeta said LYF rented the gym’s cycling machines during COVID-19 so people with the machines at home can participate in the online training.
LYF Fitness works with Perfect 10, a program through the Hudson Public Library that provides after-school programming for girls, Campeta said. She does not know the value of her grant.
Another recipient is Chiarra Hughes-Mba, an artist in Hudson who creates paintings on canvases for her company, Chimba.
She plans to use her grant money to purchase a commercial-grade printer to create high-quality prints of her paintings so she can sell copies of her originals.
“I applied for the grant because I saw an opportunity that could potentially get me one step closer to expanding my business,” Hughes-Mba said. “I feel extremely blessed to be one of the grant recipients, because it’s like my dreams are actually beginning to come true. I now possess the extra confidence to take my business to the next level. I couldn’t be more grateful.”
She applied for $7,000.
Some businesses were awarded the amount they applied for, and others were granted an adjusted amount based on their application materials, the mayor said.