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Village Hall-Based 'Business Evolution Center' to Nuture Fledgling Companies

Business owners would rent cubicles for a nominal fee in order to have a professional place to do work, meet clients and eventually grow large enough to rent actual office space.

Eight or so years ago, when construction on the then-new was completed, the economy was booming and village had 40 more people on its payroll then than it does today.

Fast-forward to 2012, and the economy needs all the help it can get, one section of village hall is unoccupied -- and an idea is born.

The Business Evolution Center, in which fledgling businesses would be given village office space at a nominal fee to help them get off the ground, is being proposed by village staff. If approved by the Plainfield Village Board, it could be in place by month’s end, Village Planner Michael Garrigan said.

“If you grow a business in a community, then it’s more likely to stay in the community,” Village Administrator Brian Murphy said last week when announcing the idea as part of the “state of the village” address presented to members of the .

Sometimes referred to as a “business incubator” system, the center would be made up of 20 to 25 cubicle spaces using about 4,000 square feet in what had formerly been the village building department. The “rent” would be a nominal amount – perhaps about $100 a month – to cover the cost of utilities, phone service and equipment, Garrigan said.

Businesses would share such things as copiers, would have access to a conference room in which to meet clients and could use village hall as their mailing address, he said.

The idea is to bring small businesses, many of which are home based, to the next level so they can offer a professional façade to attract customers or clients, Garrigan said.

“We want this to be really flexible to encourage new businesses to grow,” he said. “Home-occupied businesses don’t have a professional environment for clients.”

When they have enough money coming in, it’s anticipated the burgeoning companies would then make the leap to renting actual office space and hiring staff.

Garrigan said he has one business that’s already interested in renting six cubicles, and he anticipates the rest of the space will fill quickly. Only one office has been set aside – to be used by , which is closing its office on Lockport Street.

Businesses would have to sign a contract adhering to rules that are still being written, Garrigan said, and would give each side the opportunity to break the deal as necessary.

Garrigan said he came up with the idea because the village needs every opportunity it can get to help keep the ecomomy moving.

As Murphy told the chamber group, things are improving but not at the rate the village would like to see.

"(Looking at the year-end numbers), last year wasn't so dang-bad after all," he said. "It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad."

Tired of Gov't January 24, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Now for a positive view. Reach out to the park district who is renting space for activities; or to the Library District who needs more computer terminals and space. They are not competing with anyone but the Village for tax dollars.
Tim January 25, 2012 at 12:19 AM
If this is such a great deal, why are you not excited to move your business into one? If it's cheaper and provides better benefits to you than what you have now, you have no rational reason not to move into one. Are you making business decisions, or emotional ones?
Alijdfliawje January 25, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Why are people trying to evaluate cost versus a fictitious number thrown out in an interview? I would prefer that our governments stay out of our business also, but there are not any local incubators known and the local commercial space owners are not stepping up to build their own (or they don't know how or want to) and this has worked in other communities. And who would the Village be competing with?
Tired of Gov't January 25, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Tim, just because I CAN do something doesn't mean I SHOULD do something. Wrong is still wrong, even if legal! We will be judged by our own standards. If that is emotion, then so be it. Yes, I LOVE GOD
Tim January 25, 2012 at 07:56 PM
good for you. Looks like your competitors have nothing to worry about.

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