Recipe for success: Highway Bagels gets $5k grant from Dime Community Bank

Luigi Curto, left, and Alberto Pernicone smile with their Dime Bank check inside Highway Bagels on Monday, Nov. 16.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

Dime Community Bank presented a family-owned Kings Highway bagel shop with a check for $5,000 on Nov. 16 as part of its small business recovery grant program.

The grant program, which Dime leaders say serves as a “community chest,” has so far bestowed 60 grants totaling $300,000. The grants — awarded in partnership with the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York — benefit local businesses and nonprofit organizations throughout the five boroughs and on Long Island.

Southern Brooklyn’s Highway Bagels joined the ranks this week when Dime officials stopped by the eatery to award shop owners Alberto Pernicone and Luigi Curto with the grant.

(L-R) Richard Dodson, Luigi Curto, Eugene Kanevsky, Alberto Pernicone and Patricia Strong smile with the community chest grant outside of Highway Bagels.Photo by Caroline Ourso

“As part of our continued efforts to help local businesses weather the economic storm caused by this pandemic, this grant will make it possible for Highway Bagels to promote their business and keep it running,” said Richard Dodson, first vice president and regional director of retail banking at Dime Community Bank.

Dodson added that Pernicone and Curto, in business for 24 years, have been a customer of Dime since 2000.

Like countless other businesses across the five boroughs, Highway Bagels is struggling to stay afloat amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But, grants like Dime’s provide a much-needed boost so that they can continue to serve their longtime customers — and the entire southern Brooklyn community — despite the city and state’s ever-changing coronavirus mandates.

The grant, Pernicone told Brooklyn Paper, helped keep Highway Bagels open for business.

“The Dime grant helped me to keep my business open,” he said. “I was able to keep all my employees on payroll and even make a major repair on my oven.”

Alberto Pernicone, left, and Luigi Curto pose outside of their storied bagel shop.Photo by Caroline Ourso

The check presentation, Pernicone added, embodied what it means to come together as a community.

“When tough times hit, that’s when you find out who is with you,” he said. “Dime reached out to me to ask how they could help. Then they turned around the grant so we could get the help we needed quickly. That’s what a local, community bank does.”

Also on hand from Dime for the check presentation were Patricia Strong, vice president and CRA officer, and Eugene Kanevsky, assistant vice president and branch manager of the bank’s Kings Highway branch.

Highway Bagels is located at 1923 Kings Highway.