“Little Restaurant that Could” To Get Bigger Thanks To New Business Incentive
May 9, 2013
(West Palm Beach, FL) – Tucked away on the corner of Sapodilla Avenue and 7th Street in West Palm Beach is a small family-owned take out restaurant with big dreams and plans. The owners of Queen of Sheeba want the small neighborhood favorite to become the very first “sit down” restaurant in the city’s entire northwest area.
It’s hard to miss the inviting aroma of the homemade food floating through the unobtrusive screen door along Sapodilla Avenue.
Right now, Queen of Sheeba is take out only. The only place to enjoy their unique Ethiopian food is a tiny table next to the front door.
“What we want to do is expand, and create the first sitting restaurant in the area,” said Lojo Washington who opened Queen of Sheeba in 2006. Unfortunately, Washington says right now she simply doesn’t have the funding on her own to make her expansion dreams come true. Fortunately, she is not on her own.
On Monday Queen of Sheeba is expected to become the first business in West Palm Beach to benefit from a new pro-business incentive offered by the City of West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). In January, the CRA approved a new grant specifically targeting businesses in the city’s Northwest neighborhoods. The grant will cover up to 80% of the cost of improvements to both the inside and outside of businesses, up to $75,000.
The planned renovations are expected to cost $83,475. Because of the new business incentive program, the city CRA would pay $66,780 of the total.
“When I say that I want West Palm Beach to be pro-business, I’m not just talking about CEOs and Fortune 500 companies. Just as critical to our economic success is supporting our small business owners like Lojo,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio.
“Our Northwest neighborhoods have so much character. Sometimes all it takes is a little help to turn something already good into something great. The new incentive program, which is specifically for our Northwest business owners, will be that little additional help,” said Muoio.
For years the West Palm Beach CRA has worked to redevelop and revitalize several areas of the city. By offering incentives, the CRA encourages property owners to do more renovations than they would normally be able to afford in an effort to increase the value of the property.
Among the higher profile CRA success stories are the redevelopment of the city’s Northwood neighborhood, the construction of CityPlace, and the revitalization of the city’s downtown business district.
The CRA is expected to vote on Queen of Sheeba’s application on Monday.