The town of Linden is moving ahead with plans to convert a vacant armory into a small business incubator, the recommended starting point for those with big dreams.
Gelean Wicks is stepping back in the food business. Wicks is looking at renting out the kitchen in the armory to make desserts and sell them to local restaurants.
"This is a nice and there's plenty of room to cook food," said Wicks as she surveyed the kitchen that needs a little updating.
Some of the final papers were signed at the Marengo County Commission chambers Thursday morning, sealing the deal to receive $250,000 from ADECA to begin renovations. The county has already purchased the property for $125,000. County leaders hope to have the small business incubator up and running by late summer. In addition to the ADECA grant, the county plans to chip in another $50,000 bringing the total renovation fund to $300,000.
This is will be the first of its kind in this southwest Alabama county, a place where can people can find out if they have the strength and the know-how to start an enterprise and sustain it.
"So often we've had people with business ideas come to us and say where do we start?" said Brenda Tuck, Executive Director for the Marengo County Economic Development Authority.
It's been said most businesses fail within the first two years. Tuck believes one reason they don't make it is because the business owner didn't have the foundation to begin with.
"We don't tell them whether they're plan will work or not. We give them the resources and let them determine that for themselves," said Tuck.
Brenda Tuck says she's already gotten a few phone calls from people wanting to start their own business, all this despite the fact Marengo County has one of the state's highest unemployment rates of more than 10%.
A high jobless rate no doubt but optimism abounds. Marengo County and Gelean Wicks are looking to grow together from the ground up with a new venture.
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