Being a small business owner is a tough job. That’s why we spotlight a different business each month to help you learn about unique businesses in your own back yard.
Matt Yerkes has a knack for finding the unique in the often overlooked. Case in point is his latest a venture, a century old vacant building in Grove City’s Town Center District, that he has recently given a new life. Regular readers will remember Matt from last year’s Small Business Spotlight on Venue 62. It was during this project that the wheels began turning for his next idea: a much-needed facility for Grove City business owners and entrepreneurs to grow their business.
The Broadway Street building has been known throughout the years as a car lot, a mechanic shop, and most notably as Grove City Hardware. It was vacant for a decade before Matt purchased it in June 2014 and began pursuing a vision. After gathering financing through personal funds, financial support from the Grove City Towne Center grant, and the Franklin County Banking Center, Matt set out to oversee all areas of the demolition, rehab, design, and construction of the building with the idea of a small business incubator. The physical labor would last nearly two years before the doors opened of what is now a non-profit known as Cultivate.
What came out of the work is not a typical office space. The metal pan formed ceilings feature concrete beams originally built to withstand the large loads of the former car lot’s second floor show room. Adjustable half-walls were created from lumber removed from other areas of the building, allowing users of the first floor meeting room to create meeting space as large or as small as they need. A buffet table in this same room is even created from old heaters from the second floor.
The second floor was built to spec on either end for anchor businesses Rampart Hosting, LLC and a Keller Williams Realty franchise. Between these two businesses are thirteen cubicles of varying shapes and sizes that are available for rent.
Matt says the real work began after construction and when it was time to attract tenants and develop partnerships. “We’ve worked quite a bit with Rev1 Ventures and they’ve been a great help in all of this.” Matt says. Rev1, a Central Ohio venture development organization with expertise in helping entrepreneurs in building companies, has worked very closely with Matt in getting Cultivate up to speed.
While the building boasts historic features, potential tenants should know there is nothing old about the technology or how Cultivate operates. Free WiFi, secure 24/7 key-fob entry for employees and customizable work spaces are featured new age technology.
Matt expressed gratitude to Rampart, a tech company that he said will be a priceless resource to many tenants as they can provide tech support, consulting and other services. He called their presence the “wow factor” that so many entrepreneurs seek today.
An administrative assistant is also available to tenants to work with member businesses, and a concierge is available for all of the seemingly endless errand-running that running a small business requires. Perhaps most enticing is what lies inside the ground-level front entry to the building: Orchardfields and Arbor Café, a start-up café that also serves as Cultivate’s in-house spot for a bite to eat and drink.
As if that’s not enough, plans for several small workshops and seminars are underway to help tenant businesses, effectively turning Cultivate into a full-blown resource center, in addition to a spot to simply get work done. Matt says he wants Cultivate to be more than a place to sit down and work on the computer. “I want there to be more. If you want to get away from the desk, sit down and relax for a moment or even take a meeting with someone over coffee, you can do that here.”
Cultivate is open and a grand opening is planned for this summer. If you or someone you know has interest in being a tenant business, or if you’d like information on pricing or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Matt Yerkes directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out Cultivate on social media, at the official website, or in person at 3989 Broadway Street in Grove City.