Duke Energy awards $100k in grants to 25 small businesses


NEWPORT, Ky. – Colonel de Gourmet Herbs and Spices was the only Kentucky business to receive a grant from the Duke Energy Foundation, which partners with the Northern Kentucky and Grant County Chambers of Commerce.

The foundation awarded $100,000 in grants to 25 small businesses in honor of Small Business Saturday.

What you need to know

  • November 25 was Small Business Saturday.
  • 25 small businesses received $4,000 in aid
  • According to the US Chamber of Commerce, the state’s unemployment rate has returned to pre-pandemic levels by December 2021.
  • According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 18% of Kentucky businesses will have to close in 2020 due to state mandates.

Suzanne Stewart, owner of Colonel de Gourmet Herbs and Spices, has spent the past five years making sure her dream lives on despite the death of her husband.

“This was my husband’s dream of Colonel D. When we first started dating in 2004, we asked, ‘If you could do anything in the world, what would you want to do?’ I asked him. And ‘I want to open a shop selling culinary herbs and spices,’ said Stewart.

Her husband’s love of spices started when he was just a child.

“He grew up in Louisville with a family that loved to cook. His father and grandfather owned a produce store in downtown Louisville,” she said.

That’s why when Stewart learned about that grant through the Duke Energy Foundation, she jumped at the chance. Now, the business is receiving $4,000 to make packaging and distribution of the product easier.

“One of the first things is that it allows us to buy packaging equipment,” Stewart said.

With this improvement, she hopes her business will grow and help other local businesses.

“Hopefully the business will grow number one, allowing more small businesses to use what we sell and help them grow,” Stewart said.

Duke Energy spokeswoman Sally Thelen said the company recognized that small businesses were at risk of closing during the pandemic. She said the company felt they needed to find a way to help businesses stay afloat.

“It’s great to see these small businesses thrive and to hear from them about the impact of the dollars Duke Energy is sharing with them through the grant program,” Thelen said. “Obviously, to have a role in Small Business Saturday and give back to the communities where we live and work is very important to us.”

According to the American Chamber of Commerce, it consists of small businesses. 99% business in the state.

near 18% of Kentucky businesses It had to close in 2020 due to government mandates, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This has caused some businesses to close permanently.

Despite the statistics, Stewart worked hard to keep her husband’s dream business going. She said the support is efficient, sustainable and will keep their doors open for many years.


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