STUART, Va. (WDBJ) – An empty and abandoned building in Uptown Stuart will soon be buzzing with small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Patrick County received $1.9 million in grant funds to turn what used to be a hardware store into the county’s first ever business development center.
The space will be used for small business owners and entrepreneurs to operate out of.
“It’s going to fit the community. If you’re a one-man shop and don’t need to rent 2,000 square feet or 500 square feet for $500,000 a month and just need access to professional spaces, they are going to have that here at a much lower cost,” said Sean Adkins, director of economic development.
They will also have reliable internet access.
“It sounds like it’s a given in 2022, but, unfortunately, here it’s not,” said Adkins. “There is pure reliability of internet here, especially for a small business. You can come here and rent access to a flexible space, hold meetings here, and also have an official business address.”
Not only will the development center benefit business owners, but also the community as a whole.
“We’re on the verge of a rebirth here in Uptown Stuart,” said Adkins. “So, having this here in the heart of Uptown Stuart and knowing you’re a block away from the restaurants – it’s just going to spring a lot of economic activity.”
The county hopes to receive funding to add a childcare space below the building.
“People are as excited about that, if not more excited about that,” said Adkins. “We are a childcare desert here. We might not even have one currently. The county is over 400 square miles, so there are a lot of folks that can’t work because of childcare”
Local small business owners are already itching to make use of the space
“It makes us feel good by knowing that pretty much as soon as day one, as soon as we open the doors, it’s going to be taken advantage of,” said Adkins.
Renovations for the new business center are expected to begin in 2023.
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