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Uptown Grand Rapids Business Awarded Grant Via MEDC ‘Match on Main’ Program

By Dana Kroll, Uptown Marketing and Communications Specialist

Uptown Grand Rapids, Inc. is pleased to announce that it has once again been selected as a recipient of the latest grant opportunity offered via the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s ‘Match on Main’ program. The grant has been awarded on behalf of Eastown’s Bee Side Kitchen, who applied for funding via the UGRI organization. Uptown is one of 38 communities across the state awarded monies from this grant.


The purpose of the program, which has awarded a collective total of over 2.3 million dollars to recipients across the state since its inception in 2021, is to offer support to small businesses in Michigan. The grant’s aim is to encourage the retention of and addition to business workforces, as well as to help the businesses add resiliency and strength to both their own businesses and the districts and neighborhoods in which they exist. The grant is awarded to the UGRI organization, to be distributed as a reimbursement to those businesses whose applications were approved for submittal by the organization.


In this most recent round, the organization was given the opportunity to submit two total project requests for funds. The MEDC selected one project to receive grant funding. Bee Side Kitchen, a collaborative ghost-kitchen, is located within the Eastown business district of Uptown.


Says Ingrid Miller, Executive Director, UGRI: “Match on Main has proven to be an integral funding source for small businesses in our district. The grant provides necessary business expansion support for endeavors that are seldom funded through existing programs. We are thrilled that Bee Side Kitchen was selected for Match on Main not only because of the impact on its own business operation, but also the positive impact it will make on the many tenant businesses that operate from its kitchen. “


The Kitchen is a collaborative space in which its co-owner, Paula Reed, crafts her own custom dessert offerings, but it also is an incubator space for additional culinary talents to grow their own brands as well. These chefs and bakers are able to utilize the physical tools and resources needed to create goods, in a shared space that allows for less overhead and financial risk while early in their own business growth. The Kitchen is an inclusive space with a focus on equitable business practice and seeks to offer opportunities to those who might otherwise not be able to launch their own food company. 


Says Paula:  “Being awarded this grant is everything to us. With the funds, we will not only be able to grow our personal business, but many other small food businesses in the Uptown community.” Bee Side is jointly owned by both Paula and her husband Sam. Their award will go towards funding an ongoing expansion that will allow Bee Side to accommodate even more self-employed small business owners, as well as creating two new full-time staff positions.






Uptown consists of four business districts: Eastown, East Fulton, Wealthy Street, and East Hills. In all climates, Uptown celebrates its people, partnerships, and possibilities. Its mission is to sustain a strong and vibrant urban district through planning, coordinating, and communicating with and between all sectors of the Uptown community and beyond.

For more information about this and all things Uptown, please contact Ingrid Miller.