Dozens of Local Businesses Benefit from COVID Grants

Recovery funds impact more than 200 jobs

The Indiana Offices of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) put nearly a quarter-million dollars back into Henry County this spring to fight lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was the third round of funding Henry County businesses received through the COVID-19 Response Program.

Through this program, OCRA awarded federal grant funding to support mental health services, child care services, public Wi-Fi locations, food bank/pantry services, and grants and loans for small businesses to retain employees.

OCRA and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch announced in April 2021 that Henry County was one of the communities that would benefit from Phase 3 of the COVID-19 Response Program.

The New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corp. (EDC) was the local agency that coordinated the application process in April of this year for the $240,000 funding.

EDC President and CEO Corey Murphy reported to the Henry County Commissioners and Henry County Council in May that 39 local small businesses received grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Murphy said those businesses represent 226 employees helped by the grants.

Those receiving businesses are: Action Trophy & Engraving; Addey’s Acres; Best Electric; Blue River Financial; Clean N Simple; Custom Cuts; Daisy Road Boutique & Alterations; Diva Nail; Doodlebugs Bakery; Fierce Martial Arts; Green Hills Memory Garden; HD Williams; Helman Focal Point Coaching; Hill Wood Shed; Hoosier Automotive Group; Hot Rock Transport; Iron Kettle Restaurant; Ky’s Kreations; Little Tots Daycare; Monkey Jacks Emporium; Posey Family Livestock; Priest Family Farm; Primo; Radiance Beauty Bar; Rose City Bowl; Second Chances Clothing; Stacks Restaurant; The Barnett Company; The Cut Above; The Early Bird; The Honey Blonde Hair Company; The HR Connection; The Middletown News; The Rink NC LLC; Vital Computing; Weiland’s Flowers; Whitetail Tree Farm; WholeHeart Communications; and Wolf Creek Farms Accounting.

“It’s a pretty good cross-section across the county,” Murphy told the commissioners May 24.

Murphy said the EDC received more than 50 applications. A volunteer committee looked over each application and awarded it a certain number of points based on the number of employees, ownership status and history of receiving COVID-19 Response Program grants in the past, among other objective categories.

The volunteer committee members then looked at each business’s individual needs and its local impact in the community.

The points were tallied and an overall percentage was given to each applicant. The businesses that received grants were awarded a dollar amount that matched their overall percentage of evaluation points.

Henry County has an ongoing relationship with the grant administration firm Administrative Resources Association (ARa). ARa is the firm that alerted Murphy of the Phase 3 grant opportunities and dispersed the grants.

“We couldn’t do this without ARa’s assistance,” Murphy told the county May 25.

Murphy thanked the EDC staff and the volunteer committee for their work.

“But ARa understands the federal requirements and the state requirements and interacts with the Office of Community and Rural Affairs,” Murphy said.

Other programs

The New Castle-Henry County EDC supports local businesses of all size throughout the year, not just when federal grant dollars are available.

The EDC provides match funding to the East Central Indiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to have a business advisor available in Henry County.

The advisor has an office within the EDC offices in the city owned Murphy Building (Community Center).

According to the Indiana SBDC website, the advisor “helps small businesses start, grow, finance, innovate, and transition through no-cost, confidential business advising and training.”

You can find more information at -indiana-sbdc/

The EDC also operates the Enterprise Loan Fund (ELF), a revolving loan fund that will consider loans to small businesses that have solid business plans but need gap financing.

“The fund is not designed to compete with commercial lending but compliment and partner where possible,” Murphy said.

Loan amounts are generally between $5,000 and $100,000, subject to available funds.

Since 2012, the ELF has loaned out $627,333 to 23 different small businesses.

Find about more about the NC-HC EDC at

– Story by Travis Weik (Editor@TheCourierTimes.comof The Courier-Times. Read more local stories at