Local businesses get a boost with East Side Enterprise Center


The East Side Enterprise Center, a small business incubator located at the old Pabst building on Margaret Street, will offer a wide range of knowledge and resources to East Side businesses. The center will open in late September. (Submitted photo)
A business hub will open on the East Side this fall.
 
The East Side Enterprise Center, a community resource center for local businesses, will serve small, minority-owned businesses on the East Side. The center will provide support, resources and advocacy to local businesses and host a food distribution center for area farmers. 
 
"It's going to be a huge center for opportunity and entrepreneurship," says Tim Herman, executive director of  the East Side Area Business Association. ESABA's partners in the effort include the Dayton's Bluff Community Council and the Latino Economic Development Center, as well as other organizations which will offer services at the center. 
 
The purpose of the East Side Enterprise Center is to support current trends of economic development: small, locally based and entrepreneurial. 
 
"The future of the East Side, in terms of its economic development, it's not going to be another 3M," says Deanna Abbott-Foster, executive director of the Dayton's Bluff Community Council. "It's going to be a whole lot of local, new entrepreneurship going on, and that's why we have the East Side Enterprise Center. We're going to promote and encourage that kind of business growth." 
 
With the collective resources of its program partners, the center will provide businesses some of the leads and services bigger operations take for granted, starting with access to funding opportunities, including loans and grants. The center will also offer workshops, seminars, classes and more to help people with a great idea but little business experience learn how to budget their money, navigate the city regulatory system and ultimately do what it takes to start or grow their businesses. 
 
New start in a landmark building
 
The East Side Enterprise Center will operate out the old Pabst building at 798 Margaret St. in Dayton's Bluff. Built by George Pabst in 1885, the original building started out as a small butcher shop. Pabst expanded the site over the years, eventually turning it into a full grocery store in the 1940s. Since then, they place has traded hands many times and added a warehouse. 
 
It was recently in the hands of East Sider Cleo Kelly, who operated his home cleaning company, a ServiceMaster franchise, out of the building starting in the early' 90s. Kelly also spent countless hours renovating the building and restoring its facade to its 1885 appearance. 
 
The building is currently being renovated again for its new purpose as the East Side Enterprise Center. When finished, it will house offices, meeting rooms and a great hall for mid-sized community gatherings, as well as a renovated warehouse space for the food distribution center. 
 
The building is owned by the Dayton's Bluff Community Council and the Latino Economic Development Center. The cost of acquiring and renovating the building was about $1 million, Abbott-Foster says. Funding came from multiple sources, including city funding and Neighborhood STAR funding. 
 
This year, the Latino Economic Development Center received $60,000 in Neighborhood STAR funding to make improvements to the food distribution center, which they will coordinate with other program partners. The warehouse now has walk-in refrigeration and freezer units for farmers to store their produce as well as two refrigerated trucks for distribution. The Wilder Foundation's Twin Cities Mobile Market, a traveling grocery store in a retrofitted Metro Transit bus, also plans to operate out of the site.  
 
The East Side Enterprise Center will open in late September. 
 
For more information about the East Side Enterprise Center, including a list of program partners, visit http://www.daytonsbluff.org/.
 
Kaylin Creason can be reached at staffwriter@lillienews.com and at 651-748-7825.
 
 
 
Rate this article: 
No votes yet
Comment Here