Clear Lake Business Owners See Incubator Program as a Big Help | Local

With the help of the Clear Lake Business Incubator, even more changes are underway for downtown Clear Lake.

The Clear Lake Business Incubator, approved by Clear Lake City Council in April of this year, now has five businesses registered to fill retail spaces in downtown Clear Lake.

Jessica and Austin Wood bought the property that will become Charlie’s Soda Fountain at Fourth Street and Main Avenue.

Zacharie Dupont

The five companies provide a variety of different goods and services such as jewelry, photography, and food. The five companies included in the incubator are Skip’s Kicks, Chris’ Kettle Corn, Charlie’s Soda Fountain, White Barn Picket Fence and Nash & Ivy.

Clear Lake City administrator Scott Flory highlighted how important downtown Clear Lake is to the community.

“An economically diverse and vibrant downtown is critically important to the overall success of our community,” said Flory. “Working with the Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Corporation to provide more downtown retail opportunities is a strategy of vital importance to achieving this goal. “

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The Clear Lake Business Incubator offers businesses a way to open a storefront without having to incur the full expense of rent during the first few months of operating their retail space.

Companies participating in the program would receive a maximum of $ 10,000 in grants during their first 18 months of operation. During the first six months, program participants receive a 50 percent grant (up to $ 830), a 33 percent grant until the end of the first year, and 17 percent for the last six months. .

As part of the agreement, participating businesses must be open six days a week and remain open for at least three years or be subject to repayment of the grant.

Nikki Eden, owner and founder of Nash & Ivy, which will sell jewelry and lifestyle items, is thrilled with her involvement in the program, which allowed her to open her first physical store.

“Absolutely, they’ve been so welcoming,” Eden said when asked if the business incubator program was helpful in opening her storefront. “They’ve been very helpful, and this program has certainly been helpful too.”

Another grateful business owner for the business incubator is Charlie’s Soda Fountain co-owner Jessica Wood.

“(The Business Incubator) has been very helpful in opening up Charlie’s,” said Wood. “It closed the gap between what landlords have to charge in rent to justify renovations to old buildings and what new small businesses can pay in rent.”

Wood, in addition to owning Charlie’s Soda Fountain, also owns the building in which his business, along with White Barn and Picket Fence and Nash & Ivy, will operate.

Stacy Doughan, President, CEO and Secretary of the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce, spoke about the importance of downtown Clear Lake.

“I think the incubator program is doing exactly what the city wanted,” said Doughan. “Once the stores open, it will be the first time in a very long time that there won’t be a single vacant storefront on Main Avenue.”

Skip’s Kicks is already open in downtown Clear Lake, while Eden is hoping Nash & Ivy will be up and running at 412 Main Ave. by July 10. The rest of the businesses plan to open in the coming weeks.

Zachary Dupont covers politics and business development for the Globe Gazette. You can reach him at 641-421-0533 or Follow Zachary on Twitter at @ZachNDupont