It’s a commonly accepted belief that businesses grow in one of two ways: They either develop through internally created ideas and expansions or they merge with an existing business.
Two years ago, Waxhaw and the Waxhaw Business Association created a business incubator to help businesses grow.
Last year in Union News, I detailed the association’s definition of a business incubator: “Business incubator can be defined as an organization designed to accelerate the growth and success of entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support resources and services that could include physical space, capital, coaching, common services and networking connections.”
Since then, the Waxhaw Business Association and its incubator, now officially named “Waxhaw Entrepreneurs,” has accomplished what it set out to do.
“We had many individual artists coming through who didn’t really want to start their own business. But when you consign, the shop or gallery usually takes anywhere from 20 to 40 percent of your profits. Artist/craftsman have a hard time making ends meet with that. I researched co-op or artisan incubators in February, and this is what we have now,” Karen Johnson, of the Waxhaw Business Association, said of creating a co-op for artists.
Johnson said the co-op will occupy the two original Waxhaw Entrepreneurs offices, located at 216 W. North Main St., on the street level. The name of the new business is Created in the Carolinas Co-op.
The co-op only showcases items made in the Carolinas, and it has rules to cover all handmade works.
“We have 11 artists now and one art/studio by Ken Halstead,” said Johnson. “We will be adding music and all outside-the-box ideas that we can come up with, so stay tuned to this developing business under the Waxhaw Entrepreneurs.”
Created in the Carolinas Co-op opened Aug. 1, and the first show and sale ran through Aug. 10.
Created in the Carolinas also is offering arts and crafts classes. On Aug. 22, there will be a “Sewing Tank,” for those who want to learn how to repurpose clothing and create unique items, as well as to quilt and sew.
A class on Canvas Stretching will be on Aug. 23, but participants must sign up before Aug. 19. Attendees will learn how to assemble a support frame and attach a canvas with proper tension.
Johnson said that a business called Waxhaw Kid Coders also started in May. According to its website, the company teaches kids computer and web design programming.
She said the company’s founder, Ken Adelglass, has been teaching classes in the Waxhaw Entrepreneurs office this summer and is ready to graduate into his own space.
It’s nice to know that if your version of the American dream is to start your own business, the opportunity to do so is alive and well in Waxhaw.