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New DIA Loan Program Seeks Small Businesses

Jim Hill
DIA's Jeppesen Terminal.

A new $1 million loan program is looking to help small business owners bring their stores or restaurants to the Denver International Airport.

Familiar names like Root Down, Udi’s and the Tattered Cover Book Store are expanding the dining and shopping possibilities for travelers at DIA. And now airport officials want more. The airport is calling on small business  owners who want to branch out with new airport locations for their restaurants or stores, but may need assistance covering initial startup and capital investment costs.

“The concession program at Denver International Airport generates more than $280 million in annual gross sales, and it provides great opportunities for street restaurants and retail to make a major jump into aviation,” said Kim Day, Denver’s Manager of Aviation, in a statement released Tuesday.

Credit Jim Hill / KUNC
According to CDOT's Division of Aeronautics, DIA has grown to become a $26.3 billion economic engine for Colorado.

“The transition into airport operation requires significant capital, and this loan program will allow a greater number of small, minority-owned and women-owned businesses to take that big step. The end result will be a greater diversity of concessionaires and offerings, which will benefit our customers and our community,” Day said.

Qualified businesses will be eligible to receive up to $250,000 or 25 percent of the capital startup costs. Those funds must be used for design and capital investment of the location.

Airport officials say outside applicants must be first-time airport tenants that meet eligibility requirements which include being able to qualify as an Airport Concessionaire Disadvantaged Business Enterprise.  The program is also open to small businesses that already own kiosks at the airport and are seeking to expand into storefront locations.

The airport developed the program in partnership with the Denver Office of Economic Development.  Airport officials say business owners interested in the program may contact the Office of Economic Development at 720-913-1629. 

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