The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Business feature: Chamber, CIDC team up to help businesses


June 29, 2009

Gene Hendrick, manager of the recently-formed Clovis Business Incubator, likes to use an analogy when trying to explain the name of his organization.

“When I was growing up, everybody had an incubator because they’d raise their own chickens,” Hendrick said. “An incubator was something you used to bring the chickens along to a point where they didn’t need you anymore. And that’s exactly what a business incubator is.”

Located at 105 E. Grand, the Clovis Business Incubator is a joint project of two larger tenants of the building: The Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce and the Clovis Industrial Development Corporation.

Hendrick said 11 spaces exist on the second floor that range from 175 to 500 square feet and that below-market lease rates and ready-to-use spaces are the draw for those just entering the business world.

“We can make them (the spaces) into light manufacturing, but most of them will be office-oriented,” he said.

One person interested in starting a computer repair business is set to sign a lease, according to Hendrick, and other small businesses — such as a tutoring service and a physical therapist — are also close to making their own deals.

A group with an office already set up in the building is the Small Business Development Center — an organization strategically placed to help clients start up their entrepreneurial ventures at the site.

“We have probably more people than ever thinking of starting their own businesses,” said Gordon Smith, SBDC business specialist. “People want to control their own destiny.”

The price to lease space at the incubator? One dollar, per square foot, per month.

That’s as low as $175a month for the smallest space, which Hendrick said is all that’s necessary for many clients.

“We provide a lot of services to them. They’ll have the Internet and those conference and meeting rooms, restrooms and a kitchen up there,” Hendrick said. “Some people only want enough space to put in a filing cabinet and a place to sit down and do their work when they go out on their calls.”

But there is a catch for the low lease rate. It’s a stipulation that’s actually intended to get neophyte businesses a chance to get used to the normal expense-and-revenue climate.

“It’s a three-year program and what we’re trying to do is get people started. Those rates won’t last long. More than likely, the second year, I’ll raise the rate,” Hendrick said. “And the third year I’ll probably raise them still again.

“So that the end of the third year, when we would normally expect them to graduate and go out on their own, they won’t get sticker shock when they arrange for a place,” he added.


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