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This post originally appeared on DT2 • Downtown Dutchtown.

The City of St. Louis has established another Small Business Grant Fund to help local businesses impacted by COVID-19. $1.25 million in funding from the CARES act will be distributed as grants of $5,000.

Starting on Monday, November 16th, businesses can apply for grants. Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. The grants will be issued until the funds have run out. St. Louis Development Corporation will administer the grants. You can file your grant application starting on Monday at 10am.

Apply For Grant

Half of the funds are set aside for businesses within Opportunity Zones, Promise Zones, or Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Areas. Much of the Greater Dutchtown neighborhood lies within these designated zones—the entirety of Dutchtown proper, Gravois Park, and Mount Pleasant are all included in the Southeast NRSA.

Additionally, 200 of the grants are allocated for hospitality businesses—restaurants, bars, cafes, caterers, wedding planners, and photographers, and others. Food truck operators can also apply if they have a commissary or other physical space located in the City.

Grant Eligibility

To be eligible for a grant, businesses must meet all of the following criteria:

  • 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees
  • Closed or otherwise significantly impacted due to COVID-19
  • Valid City of St. Louis Business License
  • Current on all payments to the City of St. Louis Collector of Revenue (property taxes, earnings taxes, water bill, etc.)
  • Did not receive a grant in the last round of grants distributed this summer
  • Will not use the funds to cover expenses already paid by funds from the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), or other federal relief benefits
  • Have no conflicts of interest, i.e. no City of St. Louis employees, elected or appointed officials, or their immediate family
  • Does not discriminate per City of St. Louis ordinances

Ineligible Businesses

The following types of businesses are ineligible to apply for the grants:

  • Nonprofit organizations, churches, or religious organizations
  • Banks and other financial institutions
  • Accounting or CPA firms
  • Law firms or attorneys
  • Physicians, dentists, surgeons, optometrists, chiropractors, or veterinarians
  • Insurance brokers or agents
  • Real estate brokers or agents
  • Property management services
  • Architects, engineers, or land surveyors
  • Nursing homes or daycare facilities
  • Hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, or short-term rentals

Preparing to Apply

You will be required to have your business license number when applying for your grant. The license must be valid for the period June 1, 2020 through May 31, 2021. Previous years’ license numbers will not be accepted. Call (314) 622-4528 or visit the License Collector’s website to verify the status of your business license.

It’s recommended that you contact the Collector of Revenue to verify that your earnings taxes, personal property, and business property taxes are currently paid in full. Call (314) 622-3291 to check the status of your earnings taxes, and call (314) 622-4111 to verify your property taxes are paid. You can find additional information at the Collector of Revenue website. If your application is rejected due to any delinquencies with the Collector, you will have to reapply after making the necessary filings and payments.

To document the number of people your business employs, you can provide the following:

  • 2019 Federal IRS W-3 Form—Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements
  • Form 941 for 2020—Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return (quarter ending  6/30/2020 or 9/30/2020)
  • St. Louis Collector of Revenue Form W-10—Quarterly Earnings Tax Return (quarter ending  3/31/2020, 6/20/2020, or 9/30/2020)

Ready To Apply?

Once you’ve verified your eligibility and gathered your documentation, you can file your application starting at 10am on Monday, November 16th.

Apply For Grant

Refer your fellow business owners to this page—tell them to visit dutchtownstl.org/grants.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture recently announced that they will award funding to the Urban Eats Kitchen Incubator through their Food Insecure Urban Agriculture Matching Grant.

Urban Eats will partner with St. Anthony Food Pantry and other local organizations to create the Urban Eats Healthy Kitchen, where volunteers will prepare and provide fresh meal kits to people in need. The project addresses multiple needs pertaining to food insecurity in the Dutchtown neighborhood:

Providing Access to Quality Foods

The program will bring healthy, ready-to-cook food to people who otherwise can’t get fresh produce and other ingredients due to expense or inaccessibility. Most of Dutchtown qualifies as a food desert—low income residents have limited access to reliable sources of healthy food. With few nearby supermarkets, many of our neighbors can’t get the basic necessities to put together a balanced meal.

Additionally, the Urban Eats Healthy Kitchen will help bring attention to St. Anthony Food Pantry, an invaluable neighborhood resource, but one that not everyone is aware of. The program will help the food pantry to expand its outreach mission which serves residents of the 63111, 63116, and 63118 zip codes.

Reducing Food Waste

Production of the meal kits will use surplus produce and other items from St. Anthony Food Pantry, Find Your Farmer (operating from Urban Eats Kitchen Incubator), and other providers, reducing food waste. Urban Eats can then leverage their expansive commercial kitchen space and network of local culinary professionals to turn these resources into healthy meals for neighbors who don’t have the time, tools, or ability to prepare fresh meals for themselves.

Teaching Healthy Meal Prep

Volunteer chefs from the Original Crusoe’s, Juanita’s Creole Soul Café (located in the Urban Eats Neighborhood FoodHall), and others will also coach neighbors on how to prepare healthy meals on their own. Even when given access to better foods, a lot of people simply don’t have the experience or know-how to turn those foods into a meal. Volunteers will help impart that knowledge, leading to healthier and more affordable options for neighbors in need. As the folks at St. Anthony put it, they will “teach a man to fish.”


We’re very excited for this endeavor to come to the Dutchtown neighborhood! Partnering long-standing Dutchtown businesses, new neighborhood enterprises, and a crucial neighborhood resource to serve our neighbors in need is the kind of synergy we love to see. The project has strong community support from the Dutchtown Community Improvement District, DT2 • Downtown Dutchtown, and 25th Ward Alderman Shane Cohn. We’re proud to see Dutchtown businesses and organizations committing to missions of community service within the neighborhood exemplified by the Urban Eats Healthy Kitchen.

Beginning in November, neighbors will be working together under a new committee format for community-led improvement in Dutchtown. These committees will be meeting once a month, with each committee focusing on one of five areas:

These committees have been established via a joint effort between Downtown Dutchtown, the Dutchtown Community Improvement District, and the UrbanMain Initiative. While certain projects will focus on the Dutchtown CID footprint or the UrbanMain target area, we encourage residents and business owners from across the neighborhood to join us.

Learn more about each committee and sign up here

All committees meet at 6pm at Dutchtown’s Neighborhood Innovation Center, located at 3207 Meramec. If you prefer to connect virtually, contact us and we can provide a video link. The committee meeting schedule is below.

  • Design Committee: First Thursday of the month
  • Economic Vitality Committee: Second Tuesday of the month
  • Promotion Committee: Second Thursday of the Month
  • Organization Committee: Third Tuesday of the month
  • Safe Clean & Green Committee: Third Thursday of the month

Dutchtown needs you! Are you ready to join us? Sign up for a committee here! Still need more info? Get in touch and we’ll help you find the right committee for your interests.

Are meetings not your thing? That’s okay too—we have plenty of other volunteer opportunities in the neighborhood! Contact us to let us know what kind of projects or activities you’d like to work on. 

Election Day, Tuesday, November 3rd, is rapidly approaching. Let’s get the vote out in the Dutchtown neighborhood!

Video by Chip Smith of Cross Grand.

As the largest and most populous neighborhood in St. Louis, our neighbors can have a powerful impact on local elections because in Dutchtown, we are thousands of voters strong. If we come together this Election Day and every election hereafter to vote for the candidates and issues that matter most to our community, we can change power structures and influence policy to work better for our neighborhood.

The last mayoral primary was won by 879 votes. In Dutchtown, we have nearly 10,000 eligible voters, yet only 2,000 or less turn out for each election. This is why the Dutchtown Justice Alliance says “Dutchtown Decides.” Because together, we can decide elections in St. Louis. We have the people. We have the power. We just need to take it.

Voter Information

Polls are open from 6am to 7pm on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3rd. If you are in line at 7pm you may vote.

If you’re not sure where your polling place is, you can check at the City of St. Louis website. You can also find a sample ballot listing all the candidates, judges, and propositions you’ll be voting on this Election Day. The City’s Board of Elections website also has information about voting absentee.

If you are voting by mail and need your ballot notarized, the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition has a list of notaries to contact.

For a free ride to the polls call Souls to the Polls at (314) 562-0411.

If you have any questions or problems voting call (866)-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683).

Your Vote Matters

Your vote really counts! It gives you an equal say in determining our future. It’s your chance to influence decisions for your community and weigh in on the issues that matter most to you and your family.

With registered voter turnout hovering below 20% in both the 20th and 25th Wards in most elections, Dutchtown residents are leaving thousands of votes on the table.

To increase the likelihood you’ll actually vote, make sure you know:

  • Where your polling place is
  • How and when you’ll be voting
  • Who you’ll be voting for

We’ll see you at the polls on November 3rd!

Brian Adler of Missouri-Metro.com wrote this piece for his new blog focusing on development through the lens of its economic, social, and political impact. We thank Brian for letting us publish his article here at DutchtownSTL.org as well.

Make sure to visit Missouri-Metro.com and follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Chip and Tasha Smith are here to stay. “I can see the future,” said Chip, as he gazed in wonder at his extravagantly remodeled storefront in the heart of Downtown Dutchtown on Meramec Street. Living just steps from their store, Chip and Tasha could not be more bullish on their neighborhood. Chip, a photographer and artist by trade, has South City in his bones. Tasha even serves on the DT2 (Downtown Dutchtown) Board, influencing decisions that support local businesses, community events, and infrastructure.

Editor’s Note: The photos taken for this piece are sure to pale in comparison to what Chip is capable of.

For nearly a decade, Chip has been building his photography and videography business. It was only 10 years ago that he bought his first camera, and here Chip sat in a chic, modern studio of his own making. Brand new flooring, popping colors, wood accented walls, and a classic old South St. Louis ceiling grace a location that those just wandering in might expect in a New York City boutique. Much of the work came from the Smith Family’s own sweat, with Chip, Tasha, and their children putting in dozens of hours of physical and creative energy. Chip even put in many of the floorboards himself, save where sloped flooring posed a challenge more suitable for a general contractor than a photographer.

Chip and Tasha Smith of Cross Grand Studio, 3304 Meramec Street in Downtown Dutchtown, St. Louis, MO. Photo by Brian Adler.
Chip and Tasha Smith of Cross Grand.

“Cross Grand represents where I am from.”

Chip Smith

According to Chip, there has never been a better time to be starting a business in Dutchtown. With the Community Improvement District (CID), Downtown Dutchtown, and Neighborhood Innovation Center nearby, there is a large group of community-oriented individuals collaborating to support the neighborhood. Coupled with the incredible amount of development nearby and beginning to spill into Dutchtown itself, the “South Sider” Chip witnessed all these architecturally gorgeous buildings and storefronts and saw nothing but potential. Then he met the people and the community in Dutchtown, one of St. Louis’ most dense communities in terms of population, and saw the value of a strong and supportive community, both in terms of the residents nearby and the support infrastructure described above.

Every step of the way, Cross Grand found encouragement and support from the Dutchtown community. John Chen, founder of the Neighborhood Improvement Center just a block further East on Meramec, has advised on certain elements of the project and provided as much support as he can as the owner of the building.

The potential of Dutchtown is readily apparent as soon as you enter the neighborhood. There is an expansive infrastructure already in place comprised of incredible, historical housing stock, a walkable street grid, businesses that have been around for nearly a century, and critical retail corridors on Grand and Meramec. The Meramec corridor in particular evokes a similar feeling to Manchester in parts of The Grove, or even parts of Maplewood. A dense cluster of restaurants, boutiques, and age-old retailers sit in 100+ year old, brick-clad buildings with mansard roofs with ample room for outdoor dining.

Cross Grand Studio, 3304 Meramec Street in Downtown Dutchtown, St. Louis, MO. Photo by Brian Adler.
Cross Grand Studio. Photo by Brian Adler

That’s not to say that they didn’t need to put in the work to make their storefront shine. To see the incredible transformation of the space, look no further than these photos Chip provided of the space before they saw its true potential. Drop ceiling hid the gorgeous ceiling pattern visible today, and the floor was in need a complete refresh. Perhaps someone could have envisioned an office or small store, but to imagine and create the Instagram-worthy color scheme and modern aesthetics is a true feat.

Pre-renovation interior of Cross Grand Studio, 3304 Meramec Street in Downtown Dutchtown, St. Louis, MO. Photo by Chip Smith.
Pre-renovation interior of Cross Grand Studio, 3304 Meramec Street in Downtown Dutchtown, St. Louis, MO. Photo by Chip Smith.

With Cross Grand, Chip and Tasha are combining their interests into a full service experience for creators like themselves in Dutchtown. Chip now does most of the video and photography work in the community, with many of his photos available on DutchtownSTL.org (see here and here for examples of Chip’s work in Dutchtown). Tasha, with lots of events in the small event world, and Chip with photography and videography, found that they could create a space that catered to both needs. They plan to bring other neighborhood creators into the studio in addition to the members of the community they hope will view their work, take photos, or hold small events there.

Chip hopes that the curated space will be a destination for nearby residents to get creative and see themselves in a new light. Far from only shooting weddings, Cross Grand will offer photo sessions, photo books, and event space. Chip is also looking for ways to capitalize off of the unique style that’s new to the Dutchtown neighborhood. Whether it is featuring the work of local artists or perhaps catering to a podcast and vlogger community, Cross Grand has a special space and a set of services that Dutchtown previously lacked.

Chip Smith in the studio of Cross Grand, 3304 Meramec Street in Downtown Dutchtown, St. Louis, MO.
Chip Smith at Cross Grand’s studio. Photo by Brian Adler.

Grateful for their community support from the CID, DT2, Thomas Dunn Learning Center, and the Neighborhood Innovation Center, CrossGrand owners Chip and Tasha are plainly excited to finally bring their dream to the community. To have a space to bring clients besides Starbucks, meet their neighbors who just walk in the door, and to show their kids the product of hard work are things that make Chip extremely proud and eager about this space.

The Grand Opening

Cross Grand is set to open to the public this Wednesday, October 21st with a Grand Opening and After Hours Happy Hour co-hosted by Downtown Dutchtown. The event will feature Chip’s first photo book, a Dutchtown/CrossGrand hoodie collaboration on display, a drummer playing live music, and possibly discounted packages in addition to the hoodies and photos being on sale. Members of the Dutchtown community and beyond are encouraged to stop by and witness all that Cross Grand has to offer. The event will take place from 5:30pm to 7:00pm and visitors are encouraged to meet neighbors and stick around for a drink.

“Cross Grand is here to stay. We are going to add value to this neighborhood.”

Chip Smith

Small business entries speak volumes about a neighborhood’s trajectory, and their value is even higher in the middle of an elongated pandemic. Cross Grand is a project that rose from the community itself. It does not pad the pockets of national developer groups bringing in luxury units with no affordable housing, raze historical architecture, or displace other residents or businesses. That may sound like a low bar, but often developments in St. Louis do all those things, and while they can still offer plenty of intrinsic benefits, real neighborhood improvement and community stabilization comes from within and supports its residents.

Small businesses are the heart of truly equitable economic development that lifts communities up. The infrastructure provided in Dutchtown by community organizations is beginning to show what it is capable of. Combined with the incredible built environment, the nearby ecosystem is poised to keep pushing Dutchtown in the right direction with a focus on a community driven approach. While not as flashy as a 300-unit tower or several phase development, small businesses driven and supported by their communities have an incredible impact and make urban areas shine.

Cross Grand's studio at 3304 Meramec Street in Downtown Dutchtown, St. Louis, MO.
Cross Grand’s entry. Photo by Brian Adler

Thank you to Missouri Metro for visiting Dutchtown and allowing us to publish the first edition of their Small Business Series. You can find more of Missouri Metro at Missouri-Metro.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.