Morgan plants business seeds

Mar 14 2011 - 6:43pm

MORGAN -- A former flower shop could soon be growing new businesses.

Using a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant, Morgan city has purchased the land and building that formerly housed Val's Flowers, with plans to turn it over to Davis Applied Technology College.

"We are totally excited to see this happen in Morgan," said Francie Meacham, Davis Applied Technology College Foundation executive director.

The DATC will use the quarter acre and approximately 2,000-square-foot building for its Morgan Entrepreneurial Center, a business incubator and resource center.

"The entrepreneurial center will be a great addition to our community," Morgan Mayor Jim Egbert said.

"We realize the purchased building is small, but we see great potential for all our residents. We feel it is better to start small and expand than to start large and struggle."

Meacham said the facility is big enough to house as many as six start-up businesses by this summer and would likely expand in the future.

"I think we will outgrow it," she said. "In the meantime, we will utilize what we can and hopefully take care of a lot of needs. We are here for the long haul."

Meacham said that, within five years of starting, the center outgrew the 16,000-square-foot Roy W. and Elizabeth Simmons Entrepreneurial Center on the DATC campus in Kaysville.

Plans for Morgan's center include a conference room, closed office spaces and cubicles.

"It will have many of the same capabilities the larger center has in Kaysville. It will allow for new businesses to have office space, access to a receptionist, copy equipment and possibly a small conference room," Egbert said.

"Entrepreneurs will consult with new and existing businesses to help them grow their companies. Consultants will be made available to help with financial issues and can provide assistance in acquiring contracts, both government and private. These are just a few of the resources that will be available."

According to a survey conducted three years ago, there is a demand for office space for new businesses in Morgan, Meacham said.

"I was astonished at how many businesses exist in Morgan, in their homes," Mecham said. "They want to expand and actually move into a location."

Much like the entrepreneurial center in Kaysville, the Morgan center can help businesses prepare business plans and locate funding, Meacham said.

She was quick to point out that no tax money was used to purchase the land and building, valued at $244,000. Instead, a grant from a federal source provided the money.

Morgan city, county and school district officials have been cooperating for four years to find a site for the DATC. The grant was set to expire in December 2011, so time was of the essence.

"Time was running out and the original idea of buying land and constructing a new building had to be replaced with setting up the entrepreneurial center in what was available," Morgan City Councilwoman Shelly Betz said. "Val's seemed like a good fit, and the price was workable."

Meacham said she has already fielded requests for space in the Morgan center. Anyone interested in office space or getting started on a business plan, should call the Kaysville entrepreneurial center at 801-593-2100.

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