LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Palm Room doors are open, and its owner promises a different world of experiences of live music and leisure.
“I’m overwhelmed because it took us such a long time to be able to get it done,” Palm Room owner Marcus Withers said.
It took four years for Withers to make his dream a reality. Inside the Palm Room, there’s an inviting ambiance, dim lighting and paintings of African-America icons. Withers said his is a place in Louisville’s west end for the community to gather.
“That’s my thing; I sell sizzle, the experience,” Withers said. “I want people to come out and be taken away if it’s for 15 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour.”
The Palm Room was originally known as Joe’s Palm Room.
Withers said he worked with Louisville Forward to get the Palm Room back up and running. He was awarded two loans, totaling $470,000 for renovations and rebuilding the business. One of the loans came from the METCO program, which offers low interest loans to entrepreneurs or small business owners.
Chief of Louisville Forward Mary Ellen Wiederwohl said a lot of small businesses have been hurt since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.
“A lot of times, small business creation creeps up when there’s an economic downturn,” Wiederwohl said. “People might lose their traditional job, where they’re employed by somebody else, and have that thing inside that says, ‘I think I want to start a business.’ We have the tools, people, financial resources to help get started.”
Withers said he and his family seized the opportunity, adding that he hopes he can bring the staple back to the community in which he grew up.
“It gives us, the African-American business owners, the opportunity to start up a business," he said. "Being able to fulfill your dream with whatever your dream may be. This is America; only in America can stuff like this happen.”
Louisville Forward has grants and loans to give out. Click here to find out more.