LINC incubator launches with six new businesses in Grand Rapids' Madison Square

Six new businesses opened their doors on Friday, Nov. 11 in Grand Rapids' Madison Square business district, the first step in an economic development push by Grand Rapids-based LINC Community Revitalization, Inc. to help entrepreneurs launch local businesses and create jobs.

The businesses are all part of a new business incubator, the LINC Business Center, formerly C & J Plaza, an abandoned, ramshackle building at 1258 Madison Ave. SE. The shops range from 400 square feet to 1,000 square feet, all available at reduced rates to give entrepreneurs a leg up. The business owners enter a three-year business development program that will equip them with the knowledge to keep the business running, including legal advice, payroll processing, accounting, business plan development, networking skills and mastering social media.

"I wasn't sure if we'd have enough businesses that qualified, but for these six spaces, we had over 20 applicants," says LINC Economic Development Director Jorge Gonzalez. Gonzalez says LINC reviewed each business plan to determine if the business was ready to move forward and could be sustainable.

"We want them to be able to get their own space in the community at market rate by the end of the three years," he says. "If they're ready earlier, we'll help them move out earlier."

The businesses are:
Epic Emporium, art gallery and gift shop featuring local artists
Klipper Kingdom, barber shop.
Southtown Guitar, offering guitars and guitar lessons
RaiderTek, computer repair
Sydney’s Boutique, women's apparel.
WYGR 1530 AM, radio broadcasting studio.

Gonzalez says there are four spaces still available. Lease rates begin at $200/month, depending on the shop size and location within the building.

Source: Jorge Gonzalez, LINC Community Revitalization, Inc.
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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