At its Annual Meeting and Retreat March 21st, the Anson Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) announced Project REV, a business incubator and co-working space to be located in Uptown Wadesboro. The facility, which will be called REV
Uptown, will be located at 114 West Wade Street in a building that originally housed a Roses store and, more recently, offices of the Employment Security Commission, but has been vacant for more than a decade. It will feature a coffee bar and visitor center which will be open to the public, along with offices for the Anson County Chamber of Commerce, AnsonEDP, Uptown Wadesboro and the Anson County Tourism Development Authority. Three private offices, four semi-private co-workstations and co-working flex space for an additional 8-10 enterprises will round out the 3,400 square foot facility.
Renovation of the building will begin immediately with a late-spring opening anticipated. “Our timeline is significantly compressed,” said AnsonEDP executive director John Marek, “at the request of one of our incubator tenants who wants their space ready May 1st. The remaining space will become available during the month of May with the entire facility up and running by mid-June.”
Anson County is located 40 miles southeast of Charlotte in one of the more rural corners of the metro region. “REV stands for Rural Economic Vibrancy. Rural communities either have to find new and innovative ways to compete in the 21st century economy or they are going to fade to irrelevance,” commented Janine Rywak, chairman of the AEDC Board of Directors. “With the REV project, Anson County firmly establishes itself as an innovator, a competitor and a survivor. A lot of people had to come together to make a project of this scope work here in our uptown, and we are grateful to all of our extremely supportive public and private sector partners, including Anson County, the Town of Wadesboro, South Piedmont Community College, Leake and Anne Bennett Little, and the boards of our fellow community organizations.”
According to Marek, the private office space is completely subscribed, along with about 30% of the co-working space. “We have been holding CoWorking Wednesday events at the Chamber of Commerce over the past several months and have been talking behind the scenes with the attendees. We wanted to have a significant entrepreneur and freelance operator base in place before launching. Ultimately, though, it was the interest of two larger, well-funded startup projects, code-named Baltic and Caspian, which drove us forward.”
“We are pleased to announce that Project Baltic is Speckled Paw Coffee, a Mt. Gileadbased coffee shop that will be expanding to Wadesboro,” said Marek. “They came to us around the first of the year scouting sites for their next location. We showed them three different storefronts in Uptown Wadesboro, but they kept coming back to the Roses Building and the allure of being part of something greater than just a stand-alone shop; the incubator idea, along with the success of our CoWorking Wednesdays really resonated with them. The identity of Project Caspian and some of our other members will be announced at a future time, but I can say that there will be a strong international presence, along with locally-based enterprises of various sizes and stages of development; freelancers, startups, and emerging growth companies. Most will have a technology or innovation component, and all will be focused on regional, national or international markets.”
Co-working flex space at REV Uptown starts at $50/month, a price point well below similar facilities in Charlotte and the more proximate suburbs. “We understand that we cannot provide all the big-city amenities or a prestigious Trade Street business address, but we can offer a great place for serious entrepreneurs to establish and grow their businesses at a fraction of the price. Cost-benefit always has been and will undoubtedly continue to be one of Anson County’s strongest selling points; why not start a business where the cost structure gives you the greatest opportunity for success?”
In addition to office space, REV Uptown members will have access to specialized training programs and ongoing business support services through the SPCC Small Business Center, as well as the resources of the Chamber of Commerce, tourism, economic development and uptown development. The Office as a Service (OaaS) model creates a ‘one stop shop’ for entrepreneurial development. Early stage startups waste up to half their time dealing with things like utilities, furniture and office supplies. By offering these essentials to them as a service, co-working spaces free their time to focus on building their customer base, refining their products or services and growing their business.
REV Uptown is currently accepting applications for membership on its website, www.REV-Anson.com. For more information about the REV project, contact John Marek at (john@AnsonEDP.com) or (704) 690-4936.