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Memphis, Tenn. (September 11, 2020) – If there is one thing Ice Cream Shops can depend on, it’s that the summer months will bring a steady stream of business. But in the age of COVID-19, nothing is for sure anymore.
“Since we opened back up, our sales at the Crosstown location are down 60-75% for this time of year,” said Area 51 Ice Cream owner Stephen Cubbage.

“We are a seasonal business that relies heavily on the revenue from the summer months to keep us going during the rest of the year, so this has been an especially difficult time of year for us to be so slow.”

Area 51 Ice Cream is the seventh business to receive EDGE assistance in the Crosstown area. Its story is repeated across businesses in the neighborhood after neighborhood in Memphis. If one thing is for sure in all of this, it’s that COVID-19 has hit small businesses and the neighborhoods they call home hard.

In all, 129 businesses have received much-needed assistance in several Memphis neighborhoods. Areas that have received the most help so far include 30 businesses assisted in Midtown Memphis spread across the Medical District, Cooper-Young, Crosstown, and Overton Square; 27 businesses in the Hickory Hill area; 16 in Whitehaven; 13 in Orange Mound; and 11 in Binghampton. These are also areas where EDGE has worked since 2014 through its Inner City Economic Development Loans to build up neighborhood businesses.

All Need Grants By Zipv3a

“These businesses are a vital part of the lifeline of these neighborhoods,” said EDGE Economic Development Finance Committee Chairwoman Natasha Donerson. “The NEED Grant has done a lot to ensure that these establishments, the jobs they support and the communities they serve will continue to survive in the midst of this pandemic.”

At its meeting today, the EDGE Economic Development Finance Committee approved NEED Grants for six businesses:

To date, EDGE has awarded $721,700 to the 129 businesses throughout Memphis’s most vulnerable neighborhoods; 105 of those (81%) are minority- and women-owned businesses.

The Neighborhood Emergency Economic Development (NEED) Grant was created to provide relief to small businesses, located in Memphis’ most vulnerable neighborhoods that have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Eligible businesses can apply and find more information at