COVID-19 relief options and additional resources

Village 8/Baxter Avenue Theatres Receive Shuttered Venue Operators Grant

92 awards for over $52 Million to date in Kentucky
Release Date: 
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Release Number: 

The U.S. Small Business Administration reached a new milestone of successfully awarding over $7.5 billion in Shuttered Venue Operators Grants (SVOGs) to more than 10,000 hard-hit live entertainment small businesses, nonprofits, and venues. The SVOG program is designed to assist in getting the nation’s cultural institutions, which are critical to the economy and were among the first to shutter, back on track.  

In Kentucky,  Apex Theatres, which operates Village 8 Theatres and Baxter Avenue Theatres, was the first business in the state to receive an SVOG. The latest data shows that 92 live entertainment small businesses, nonprofits, and venues in Kentucky have been awarded SVOGs.   

The SBA worked closely with the White House and other federal partners to process SVOG applications faster after the first two weeks of awards did not set the pace needed for this emergency funding. While more work is still needed to help businesses recover from the pandemic, the SBA took swift action to quickly process SVOG applications and get funding into the hands of hard-hit operators.

“After making improvements to the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, the SBA is now delivering money quickly, efficiently and fairly to highly-impacted small businesses and venue operators that are critical to America’s cultural fabric and local economies,” SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman said.

“When I began my tenure at the SBA, this first-of-its-kind SVOG program was not where I wanted it to be. I’m proud that, thanks to the hard work and dedication of our talented team, we have turned the ship around. America’s small businesses can rest assured that the SBA will continue to work around the clock to provide the relief that is needed to revitalize local economies and build back better from the pandemic and economic crisis.”

Mr. Leslie Aberson, President and CEO of  Apex Theatres added, “We are so proud and grateful to have been one of the very first to receive the SVOG Award from the SBA. The grant has enabled Apex to survive after a very challenging 15 months, which included shutdowns due to government mandates. With the grant, Apex has been able to pay its operational expenses, including back-pay of salaries, deferred rent, and capitalized expenses. This includes replacement of HVAC units and repair of projectors and other theatre equipment. The grant has provided the much-needed financial stability to keep our company in business.”

“Apex has also served the community with its work friendly environment, offering employment to people with disabilities, along with employees who enjoy working with our local community, hosting film festivals, exclusive premieres, and screenings for local filmmakers.  Most recently, Apex was nominated ‘The Best of the Best’ by the Courier-Journal which is truly an honor and privilege.  We thank the SBA, along with our investors, our landlord, Norton Healthcare and Metts Real Estate, as well as Commonwealth Bank & Trust, who have been helpful and supportive during such a difficult time.”          

The SVOG portal remains open, and funding is still available for eligible applicants. SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET to provide technical assistance with the SVOG application portal and can be reached at 1-800-659-2955 or, for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, 1-800-877-8339.   

Also, SBA’s resource partners, including SCORE Mentors, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers and Veterans Business Outreach Centers, are available to provide entities with individual guidance on their applications. Applicants can find a local resource partner via a zip code search at For weekly SVOG funding data reports, visit