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Capitol Market remains closed Sundays, but the plans remain on track for a return to a regular schedule later next month.

With that in mind, vendors prepared for a Saturday surge in business in advance of Sunday’s Super Bowl LV.

“The Super Bowl is usually a busy weekend for us,” said Allen Hathaway, owner of The Purple Onion and WV Marketplace. “We’ve been extra busy preparing grab-and-go items and getting ready for Sunday. For us, that starts the week before by ordering plenty of extra product.”

Meanwhile, tenants of the indoor and outdoor marketplace have used the time as an opportunity to remodel and update their spaces. Purple Onion and Mea Cuppa have both taken on indoor renovations, while Soho’s continues to build out a more permanent structure for its outdoor beer garden.

“The reality is that many still feel more comfortable watching from home so there may be more emphasis on that this year,” said Evan Osborn, outdoor market manager at Capitol Market. “We have adhered to the most stringent COVID precautions from Day One so I feel like this is arguably the safest place in town to shop.”

Capitol Market’s shopping space covers 16,000 square feet of indoor space along with 24,000 square feet outdoors.

Nearly two dozen businesses awarded grants

Twenty Charleston businesses have been awarded Small Business Investment Grants during the second grant cycle, totaling $98,617.43.

Businesses awarded $5,000 grants included: Academy of Arts at January’s LLC, Alchemy WV LLC, Andrews Floor & Wall Covering, Bullock Properties, Butch Hiles Brazilian Jui Jitzu & MMA, Capitol Center, LLC, Echo-Lit, LLC, Graziano’s Investment Inc., Hagy’s Irish Pie Pub, Johnnie’s Fresh Meat Market, Lola’s Pizza, New Beginning Learning Academy, Outta Time eXcape Rooms, Pile Hardware, Stella’s, The Dupont Hotel LLC, The Shape Shop Café and Vandalia Donut Company. The Linn, LLC was awarded $4,880 and The Peanut Shoppe, $3,737.43.

Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin said, “Through the first two rounds of our Small Business Investment Grants, we have awarded over $175,000. These grants provide funds for improvements and marketing support for businesses that may need additional support during this difficult time.”

The five-person scoring awarded the grants based on “projects that would enhance the image of Charleston either physically or socially, help maintain or increase current customer base or strengthen a small business’ sustainability.”

The third grant cycle begins in March.

Kroger donates to West Virginia State

West Virginia State University received a $7,000 donation from Kroger Mid-Atlantic as part of the grocer’s Zero Hunger Zero Waste initiative. The program is designed to support food pantry programs that ensure students have access to meals.

The donation to WVSU was one of three $7,000 gifts that Kroger made in West Virginia and Virginia. Virginia University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia, also received donations.

“We know that all of these schools work hard to provide nutritious food to students who need support,” said Allison McGee of Kroger Mid-Atlantic. “It’s our hope that this donation helps stock the shelves so that more students can benefit from the food pantry. These food pantries do incredible work putting food on the table in communities.”

The donations were also part of Kroger’s Framework for Action: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan. It’s a program to outline immediate and longterm steps to support communities of color. Kroger said the donation fell under the “develop diverse talent” part of the plan focused on supporting, partnering and attracting top talent from historically Black colleges and universities.

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