CHATHAM — Chase Bank presented Dat Donut owners with a $150,000 check on Friday.
Darryl and Andrea Townson were recipients of the $3 million Mission Main Street Grant and at a press event at their store on 82nd and Cottage Grove, they were given the check. Elected officials such as Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), state Sen. Donne E. Trotter (D-Chicago) and state Rep. Elgie Sims (D-Chicago) were in attendance.
The couple were among 20 small-business owners across the country to receive the grant. This is Chase's third year awarding the grant and the first time a Chicago business was selected.
“We’re thrilled to be able to support small business owners especially businesses like Dat Donuts, which is so important and prominent in the community,” said Laura Helmuth, Chicago market manager for JP Morgan Chase.
Darryl Townson said he was speechless when he found out he was a winner.
“I don’t know what to say right now. I’m really overwhelmed,” he said.
Nearly 25,000 applicants across the country submitted an application for the grant. The public was able to vote for its favorite, and more than 1.6 million votes were cast. Next, business experts selected the top recipients, those who received at least 250 votes.
The 20 businesses that were selected will receive more than just the grant money, but also a trip to Google’s headquarters in California for a marketing workshop next month. They will receive a marketing toolkit, a Chromebook laptop and a $2,000 coupon toward a market research study from Google.
The Townsons said they already know how they plan to use their grant. Making the building more sustainable is on the list, which means new lighting, a new roof and air conditioner, said Darryl Townson.
“It probably would have taken me five years to invest that kind of capital into the improvement of the building,” he said.
He also plans on hiring more employees from the community and is looking to add another location in either the city or suburbs.
Harris said that the ward can always use more jobs.
“To be able to bring more bodies in here is what we call the trickle-down effect: you live here, you work here and the dollars stay here,” she said.
“I encourage Chase to keep doing this and to keep finding entrepreneurs from other parts of the ward like Darryl because he is working hard here and holding down the 82nd and Cottage Grove corner,” Harris said.
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