Downtown Statesboro Development Authority executive director Allen Muldrew recently announced some incentives to attract new businesses to downtown.
"The city has agreed to waive some of the initial fees that a business has to pay when it opens its doors," Muldrew said. "These fee waivers only apply to businesses that are locating within the DSDA district of the city."
Muldrew said that business license fees and "hook up" and/or tap fees for water and gas would be waived for the first year. However, those aren't potentially the biggest savings for a new business. The city has also agreed to waive its fee portion of a business's liquor/beer/wine license.
"For a beer/wine license, that would save a business $1,250," Muldrew said. "For a beer/wine/liquor license, the savings would total $3,750. Of course, that is for the first year of operation. The business would have to pay those fees for year two and beyond. This helps new businesses get off the ground a little easier. Please let me reiterate, it has to be a new business in its initial year of operation in downtown. "
Muldrew said that downtown Statesboro has incredible opportunities, but does present some unique challenges as well. "We want to make it as easy and profitable as we can for anyone or any company that wants to bring a new business to downtown," he said.
As downtown continues to redefine itself, a new business just opened last week which I think is perfect for the city center - Vintage Connection Antiques and Collectibles Mall.
Located at 21 East Vine Street, the 6,100 square foot antique mall is ready for vendors looking for a place to sell and display their antiques and collectibles.
"We are renting space for a $1.60 a square foot," said Sam Williams who opened the business with his wife Dawn. "We are getting calls from vendors all over the area, and I suspect we will fill up relatively quickly if interest is any indicator. We have already leased some space."
Williams said initially he and his wife hadn't planned to put Vintage Connection in downtown. "We were looking for a larger space, but once we realized that this space was available, and began to look at all that downtown had to offer from First Fridays to the Farmers Market, it should seemed like a wonderful fit," he said. "If we need more space, we will just open up a second location. That would be a nice problem to have."
I have been the Business Editor for almost seven years, and have had the pleasure of writing about the "highs" and "lows" of downtown's redevelopment during that time. With so much development going on around the city and in the county over the last several years, it has been pretty easy to look beyond downtown. But, our business community and the quality of life we have created are supported our key economic legs of higher education, the mall area, our industrial parks, manufacturing, agriculture and downtown.
It is my hope that our civic leaders will continue to be innovative and supportive of its redevelopment. We can only benefit from that.
So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.
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