Coffee shop, sports center among businesses seeking Galesburg minority grants

Samuel Lisec
Galesburg Register-Mail

GALESBURG — Two businesses may receive funding from the city’s new Minority/Woman-Owned Business Startup Assistance program depending on a vote from Galesburg’s City Council on Monday. 

If approved, Dame Fine Coffee and the All-Star Sports Academy will be the second and third businesses to have utilized three new grants the city created in February to increase the number of minority- and women-owned businesses in Galesburg and the number of businesses on the south side of the city. 

The grants — the Minority/Woman Owned Business Startup Assistance Program, the Minority/Woman Owned Business Collateral Assistance Program and the Southside Occupancy Assistance Program — are funded through the American-Rescue-Plan-Act and can be applied for with assistance from the Knox County Area Partnership.

Dame Fine Coffee, which is co-owned by Alyssa Vancil and her husband Dillan and already operates a bricks-and-mortar location in Monmouth and a beverage food truck on Henderson Street,  is slated to receive a total of $45,000 from the city. 

The money would help the couple buy two properties on the southwest corner of E. Main St. and Illinois Ave, demolish an existing structure there, deposit collateral and construct a new 384 square-foot drive-through coffee shop.

“The grants really helped out, and I don't think we would be able to expand like we want to without the help from these grant programs,” Dillan Vancil said.

Ken Springer, president of the Knox County Area Partnership for Economic Development (KCAP), said that Dame Fine Coffee meets the requirements of the three funding programs as the Vancils will employ three full-time equivalent positions and buy property on the south side of the city. 

“Dame Fine Coffee already has a successful location in Monmouth and Galesburg is a great market for coffee and beverage sellers,” Springer wrote in an email. “Their new location on East Main is going to be a nice addition to the South side of Main Street.”

The Vancils may receive further financial support from the city if the council votes in favor on a separate item to provide $46,200 to the development of the new Dame Fine Coffee shop through District 4 Tax Increment Financing (TIF). 

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All Star Sports Academy, which is owned by Michael Spinks, is slated to receive $10,000 from the city in order to buy property at 2051/2085 Grand Ave. and demolish existing structures there to eventually build a “multi-sport functional center.” 

Springer wrote in a letter to the council that the new building will include batting cages, arcade games, a small retail space and the KCAP will likely bring the project back to the council later this year to approve further grant funding.

“All-Star Sports Academy’s project will start by removing a dilapidated building on Grand Ave, and then will eventually see a new business in a newly-constructed building take its place,” Springer wrote in an email. “All-Star’s batting cages and arcade will provide another amenity for our community’s youth.”

Therapy for Positive Aging, which is owned by Amanda Powell, was the first business to be approved by the city’s new grants in June. 

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Golf carts and UTVs

Galesburg’s city council will provide a final reading to an ordinance that, if approved, will allow people to operate golf carts and utility task vehicles on certain city streets.

The ordinance will require people to obtain an annual permit of $100 from the City Clerk’s Office and receive an inspection of their vehicle by the Galesburg Police Department. Drivers must also be at least 18 years-of-age, carry liability insurance and obey all regular traffic laws.