History of the Covington Business Council

Learn about our history

History of the Covington Business Council

Our Mission

With a member-centric focus, the Covington Business Council provides access and connections to the dynamic growth of Covington, Kentucky by fostering a culutre that promotes one-on-one attention. CBC delivers an experience that is personal and focused on the success of its members. Covington Business Council provides educational programming, impactful assistance and meaningful opportunities for its members to advance their business and professional growth.

Our History

Humble Beginnings: Covington Urban Redevelopment Effort (or CURE)

The City of Covington and its civic leaders were faced with a huge challenge in early 1972.  The stream of businesses and residents migrating to the suburbs was starting to take hold. 

A similar problem faced by urban areas across the nation. At that time, officials with the City of Florence were announcing plans to build an enclosed 940,000-square-foot Florence Mall with acres of free parking.

In addition, Banker Ralph Haile Junior was chosen to lead a program he and his colleagues dubbed, “CURE” or Covington Urban Redevelopment Effort designed to reverse the movement to neighboring counties.

Their first plan was hiring a Baltimore-based firm to design an area called Fountain Square Plaza, an underground garage plus a Western and Southern-Southern Ohio bank complex. Among the team of 16 business executives was newly elected Mayor Bernard Grimm.

Given the struggling economy for much of the 1970, CURE failed to generate much of an impact. In 1979 the organization merged with the Covington Retail Merchants Association to create ACT for Covington seven years of mixed results downtown,

Finally, CURE was positioned for a rebranding, which took place in 1979, when the Covington Retail Merchants Association disbanded and then merged with CURE to create ACT for Covington, which focused on promoting downtown businesses and developing Covington’s riverfront. 

ACT for Covington

ACT facilitated support of construction of the RiverCenter Towers along the Ohio River.  Developer Bill Butler rounded out the impressive development with an Embassy Suites Hotel and and a few years later Madison Place, a 15-story high-rise that includes a hotel, apartments and condos that over the River.

ACT for Covington’s board voted on June 20, 1990 to change its name to the Covington Business Council.

Today the CBC has experienced much growth, realizing a tripling of membership to more than 430 member companies since 2010. The organization offers more than 100 education and networking events annually and specializes in connecting stakeholders all over Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky—not just Covington—to the people they need to meet to develop and accelerate their business growth.

The Covington Business Council Today

While its membership reach is over the entire region, CBC is extremely focused on supporting business issues pertaining to Covington.

After all, our mission is to advocate for a healthy business climate in the City.

Furthermore, we accomplish this by supporting the development (and completion) of infrastructure projects such as the Brent Spence Bridge, aligning with the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

In addition, the Roebling Suspension Bridge and the construction of the new Fourth Street Bridge linking Newport and Covington in the next five years.  

Additionally, we also get involved in workforce issues. Helping Covington Partners and Covington Schools develop working relationships with businesses as part of the workforce mentoring program.

We also allow Holmes High School students to learn about opportunities with leading Covington businesses and organizations such as the Salyers Group, DBL Law and the Kenton County Library system. 

In recent years, we’ve developed a strong network with our restaurants and bars, serving as an education center and resource for them during regularly gatherings we call Food For Thought.

In closing, over its half century of existence, the CBC has overcome operational and economic challenges to serve businesses and the community providing access, opportunity and growth to its members.

All in all, we encourage you to investigate what we have to offer and take part in the special events we are hosting for the remainder of the year in rightfully celebrating our history and role in the region. 

CBC In the News

Covington in process of subdividing former IRS site, aims to request construction proposals soon

LISTEN: Advocating for a healthy business climate with Pat Frew, Covington Business Council

Mind Your Business Podcast Graphic

In its 50th year, Covington Business Council sets up fund at Horizon Community Funds for its foundation

Covington's Local Businesses Are Thriving

Chamber of Commerce recognizes CBC Executive Director Pat Frew with NKY Community Award

Brent Cooper and Pat Frew

Wenzel Whiskey converting Covington’s vacant Bilz Insurance building into distillery

Wenzel Whiskey

Covington Business Council celebrates 50 year anniversary by recounting history, honoring local business, and looking forward

Pat Frew CBC