Incubator close to building out

Published 12:16 pm Thursday, August 20, 2009

FRANKLIN—There is more demand than space at the Franklin Business Incubator.

“We’re 100-percent occupied,” said Nancy Parrish, the small business manager. “I have a waiting list of about five tenants.”

However, that will soon change, according to Parrish. The incubator opened in 2005 in an old buggy factory built in 1907 on North Mechanic Street. The first, second and most of the third floors of the building have been renovated, but with the help of two grants, the entire four-story building will be available for small businesses.

Parrish said that she applied for, and was awarded a $150,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture.

“That money will enable us to complete the third floor build-out,” Parrish said. She said that the building’s third floor is about 80 percent built-out, and these funds will enable them to complete it. USDA funds will also help start the fourth floor build out.

Parrish also applied for a Community Development Block Grant worth $500,000. She said that although she hasn’t received official word, she’s about “99 percent sure” that they will be awarded the grant, which will enable the incubator’s fourth floor to be built out.

“I’m very optimistic,” she said. “We’re moving forward with the things we have to do. When the monies are available, we have to hit the ground running.” Some of the grant funding is from the federal stimulus package, and requires that projects be “shovel-ready.”

The Franklin Business Incubator’s goal is to assist new small businesses by providing support and guidance and eventually “graduate” them out on their own.

Parrish said that the incubator has been a “success story” and noted that it has been recognized with economic development awards at both state and regional levels.

“I think it’s important for people in the area to know how blessed we are to have this facility,” she said.

Parrish expects the entire building to be built-out within the next two years.