Wayne America

New Wayne Business Center provides option for growing in-home small businesses

George Phelps’ is working with SCORE and Wayne Area Economic Development to help launch a new small business center in the Mineshaft Mall in downtown Wayne. The new center provides low-cost office space to small businesses and in-home businesses that need space to expand. (Photo by Michael Carnes)

There are a lot of small businesses that get their start on someone’s dining room table, and before long, the business gets too big for the home.

The opening of the Wayne Business Center is an opportunity for those in-home businesses to find a place to grow, as well as offer space to existing businesses that want to set up a base here in Wayne.

George Phelps has been involved with SCORE (Service Corps Of Retired Executives) for a number of years and has his own financial planning business set up in the Mineshaft Mall on Second Street in downtown Wayne. The longtime local businessman is working with SCORE and Wayne Area Economic Development to help open space in the downtown mall that would give a number of smaller, start-up types of businesses a chance to grow and develop in a type of group atmosphere.

“What we’re trying to do is provide a venue for people who want to come to Wayne and set up a business home base and do not need a storefront,” he said. “It would be for someone who would like office space where they could do things like develop a biz plan and have access to SCORE counseling, and they would be able to interchange with other people and have access to a conference room that could be used for webinars, seminars or workshops.”

Phelps said he rented office space to an individual who was working on the thesis for their doctorate degree, and the Wayne Business Center could provide office space for people who are either starting up a business or just need a place to set up a desk so they can do their work.

“Someone could come to town, who wants to do business here, but just needs some place to have a desk to make phone calls or meet people,” he said. “Or somebody could be doing a business out of their home and could be at the point where they need some space so they can move (the business) out of the house. A home-based business in this town could reach a point where they would want to take it to the next level, and this would be something that could work for them.”

Seven office spaces are available in the Wayne Business Center that is opening up in the Mineshaft Mall. The area includes a meeting room and a kitchenette area for those wanting to have a catered meal brought to the meeting. (Courtesy photo)

Wes Blecke, executive director of Wayne Area Economic Development, said the concept for the Wayne Business Center is something along the lines of a business incubator setup, but without the time restrictions most business incubators require.

“The concept has worked well in other communities and there have been incubators that have a manager running the place and you kick the businesses out after a year because you don’t want them to stay dependent on that and get out and expand,” he said. “This is a loose-knit setup, and we would be helping with business consulting and could help them get into it, but we wouldn’t be providing much more to them than any other business in the community.”

SCORE’s Norfolk office is working to reach out to communities like Wayne to expand their reach, and Phelps said the organization can work with the businesses that come to the Wayne Business Center if they are looking for assistance.

“SCORE could provide mini-workshops of various topics like they do now on advertising, storefronts, other topics,” he said. “I’ve been pretty active in SCORE over the years and thought we would develop kind of a cell here and have a half-dozen or so people here that we can help.”

The $200-per-month rent provides an office space and access to a meeting room and kitchenette facility. Clients are responsible for internet, cable and phone hook-ups that may be needed. Phelps said there are a number of benefits of setting up in the facility, including SCORE business counseling options, networking, introduction to business resources and even assistance in writing a business plan.

Phelps said he sees not only new businesses taking advantage of the Wayne Business Center, but other entities as well.

“I anticipate that we could see some professionals in there like engineering firms, maybe someone coming to town building a project in Wayne and need a home base, or small businesses starting up and some home businesses that may have outgrown the walls of their home,” he said. “I have felt there has been a need for this here for a very long time. I call on small business clients and I find there is a certain segment that are pretty good at doing most of the things but need help on some others, and could never put something together until now. SCORE gives us the structure to do something here.”

For more information, contact Phelps at (402) 369-1818 or Blecke at (402) 375-2240.

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