Updated: Jul 22, 2021
The City of Akron announced today that Kenmore Boulevard will soon be home to a new sit-down restaurant and tea house as part of the inaugural round of the Rubber City Match program.
SRINA Tea House plans to open its doors at 975 Kenmore Blvd. later this summer.
The venue will serve organic teas, coffee and health-conscious food made with ingredients produced on their small-scale farm in Sri Lanka and prepared by Akron’s own Chef Glenn (Edgars Restaurant). SRINA's addition will create a destination for tea lovers along Kenmore Boulevard, joining ManiKitchen Tea Shop, which offers loose leaf teas and tea-related products for retail sale.
SRINA owner and CEO Monaqui Porter Young sees the tea house as a wellness destination for the community. It will offer health workshops, special events and opportunities for neighborhood engagement with organizations like Kenmore-Garfield High School, First Glance and seniors at the Kenmore Community Center.
"At SRINA Tea house, we are doing something beyond the cup of tea. We are building culture and community,” Porter Young said. “We believe in warmth, authenticity, kindness, positivity and passion."
SRINA Tea House is the ninth new business to announce its plans to open on Kenmore Boulevard since 2020. It joins Gypsy Grace & the Vintage Goat as one of the Rubber City Match's first cash award recipients. Each is receiving a business loan from local lending partners Western Reserve Community Fund and ECDI, as well as a grant from the City of Akron to complete their projects.
“The purpose of Rubber City Match is to provide funding to businesses who may not have access to traditional financing,” says Heather Roszczyk, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Advocate for the City of Akron. “The businesses receive support and guidance throughout the process, and as a result, the participating building owners are being connected to vetted tenants who are more likely to succeed.”
Applications are still open for the second round of Rubber City Match, but the deadline to submit is June 30, 2021. Rubber City Match pairs new and expanding businesses with Akron’s top real estate opportunities, providing funding and technical assistance along the way. Grants will be available through the program, in addition to business-friendly loans that will assist with launching businesses, renovations or other related expenses.
The program features four award levels for business and building owners:
• Business Plan Award: Free tuition to attend MORTAR at Bounce, sharpen your business skills and develop your business plan. MORTAR is a 15-week accelerator course that helps both existing and aspiring non-tech entrepreneurs learn the nuances of business ownership and build a comprehensive business canvas; the goal being to launch businesses that create jobs and circulate dollars locally. The program focuses on entrepreneurs who are often under-served.
• Space Award: Get matched with the right space for your business, receive technical assistance to help you choose your space and be eligible for microgrants to have attorneys review your lease documents
• Design Award: Meet with architects and be eligible to receive grants to pay for architectural drawings for the build-out of your new space
• Cash Award: Meet with lenders who focus on supporting small businesses. If there is a gap between what the business owner can put into the project and what the lenders are willing to lend, business owners are eligible to receive grants from the City to fill the financial gap.
Competing businesses will be scored on five criteria: Vision and Plan, Experience and Capacity, Market Opportunity, Community Support and Leverage of Investment. Winning businesses must agree to locate within the City of Akron for at least two years and demonstrate a benefit to the community.
To apply for Rubber City Match visit rubbercitymatch.com and for more information call 330-375-2133.