Fruita council OKs funds for branch of Business Incubator

Several years ago, a local man trying to run an engineering business from his family’s kitchen table pleaded with the city of Fruita to create an environment where he could work in a shared office space.

Fruita Mayor Lori Buck remembers the story well.

She and the rest of Fruita’s City Council are happy to report they may have a solution to help that man and others like him.

On Tuesday night, the board approved a partnership with the Business Incubator Center in Grand Junction to run a satellite office out of the Fruita Civic Center, 325 East Aspen Avenue.

“It’s always kind of been in the back of our brains,” Buck said of helping businesses get going. “There’s probably lots of people running businesses off their kitchen table.”

The Business Incubator will be housed in the Civic Center’s former library, the nearly 18,000-square-foot upstairs space.

The city is fronting $21,000 to the Business Incubator for the arrangement, which will cover startup costs and funds for redoing the floor. Funds will come from Fruita’s $100,000 capital project fund, which is slated for downtown improvements, according to the city.

Initially, the Business Incubator is expected to offer coaching for businesses and classes for people to learn more about how to create a business. Eventually, start-up businesses will occupy the space.

The Business Incubator conducted a feasibility study and determined having a presence in Fruita would be positive, according to Executive Director Jon Maraschin.

“I think it’s going to be an excellent fit,” he said. “It seems to make a lot of sense. There’s enough people down there with small businesses. Honestly, the number of licensed businesses in the city is a fairly decent number.”

Maraschin said the Incubator expects to be up and running there within the next 60 days. Furniture was donated by Encana and the city of Fruita will provide some Internet services. The space is large enough to house between one to four clients, he said.

“Now we just have to find them,” Maraschin said. “By the end of July we sure hope to have the doors open.”

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