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Neighborhood Retail Assistance Program


In 2018, the City of Cleveland recognized 12-years since the establishment of the Neighborhood Retail Assistance Program—a program that assists existing and start-up small businesses and entrepreneurs. Cleveland is one of only a handful of cities across the country to provide financing to locally-owned, non-chain restaurants and retail in our neighborhoods. The projects increase the “walkability” of neighborhoods adding vitality by providing street level goods and services ultimately improving quality of life. This successful program assists entrepreneurs by providing a funding source that creates and retains local jobs.


Retail related business, restaurant or grocery stores that will create at least one full-time   W-2 job for the City. Locally-owned businesses that will upgrade the exterior and interior appearance of their storefronts can benefit from the program. Private developers with retail projects, restaurants, cafes and merchants are eligible to apply. Daycares, liquor-only establishments, and religious organizations are ineligible for the program.

Max Assistance

Maximum City assistance is $50,000 

Use of Proceeds

Eligible activities include:  

  • Machinery and Equipment
  • Furniture and fixtures
  • Construction / Renovation
  • Architecture, design, and engineering costs
  • Exterior building improvements:  fencing, signage, and lighting
  • IT installation

Equity Requirement

Applicant must provide a minimum of 10% equity

Collateral:  City to have a lien on the Project Site and/or UCC lien on business assets. Other collateral may be deemed necessary. Personal guarantee(s) are usually required.

Interest Rates

3% Fixed 

Loan Terms

Interest at 0% during construction then fixed at 3% for the remaining term of the loan up to 5 years.  Up to $3,000 of the loan can be forgiven for green/sustainable and energy efficient components. The City will track annually, the job creation progress of the project for the duration of the loan term. The Applicant must also execute a City Workforce Development Agreement—The Workforce Development Agreement is a free service provided by Ohio Means Jobs that works to match unemployed skilled workers with available positions.

Download an Application