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LendaHand Small Business Grant Program Winners Announced

MOBILE – The LendingTree Bowl announced today The Facility for Performing Arts (PACT Theatre Company) and Mikkelsen Upholstery were named winners of the inaugural LendaHand Small Business Grant Program, a partnership between the Bowl, LendingTree and the City of Mobile to highlight and support local small businesses during the lead up to the 2021 LendingTree Bowl. Each business will receive a $10,000 grant from LendingTree.

More than 40 small businesses in the Mobile, Ala. area applied for the LendaHand Small Business Grant Program, and five finalists were selected by the LendingTree Bowl and City of Mobile. LendingTree employees reviewed the finalists and voted for their choice, ultimately selecting two winners.

“We were so proud to see so many small businesses apply to our first program here in Mobile,” said April Whitlock, Head of Corporate Citizenship at LendingTree. “Our goal was to give these businesses an opportunity to not only share who they are, but to be recognized and celebrated by their community, and we’re thrilled to provide these grants to PACT Theatre Company and Mikkelsen Upholstery”

The five finalists included the following small businesses:

  1. Magnolia Classics/AR Workshop – Owned and operated by Courtney Rascoe, Magnolia Classics opened their shop in April of 2019 to help others create their own memories and home décor.
  2. Nova Espresso – Owned by honorary Mobilians, Tim & Claire Gautreaux, Nova Espresso is a locally & family owned/operated craft coffee shop opened in 2018.
  3. Reney’s Honey Butter – Founded in 2017 after a fateful blackberry picking expedition, Meredith Simmerman creates award winning flavored honey butters.
  4. The Facility for Performing Arts (PACT Theatre Company) – Started in 2018, PACT provides a quality youth-based theatre pre-professional program for the town of Mobile.
  5. Mikkelsen Upholstery – Established in 1939 by the Mikkelsen family and currently owned and operated by Todd Hunter, the shop focuses on upholstering and repairing furniture.

“I’d like to congratulate Facility for Performing Arts (PACT Theatre Company), Mikkelsen Upholstery and all the finalist in the the inaugural LendaHand Small Business Grant Program,” Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said. “This great new program has show that Lending Tree shares the City of Mobile’s commitment to this community and the important role small businesses play in our local economy.”

Each business was evaluated based on a series of questions that ranged from why applicants applied to what they intended to do if selected as the winner of the program’s top prize.

All finalists will be highlighted on LendingTree’s social media channels each week leading up to the Bowl and will also be featured via individual videos during the LendingTree Bowl game.

The 23rd annual LendingTree Bowl will be played on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 and will feature teams from the Sun Belt Conference and Mid-American Conference. Georgia State defeated Western Kentucky 39-21 in last year’s event.