It was launched as a way to give small businesses their start in Plainfield — and, ultimately, to keep them here.
Approved by the village board in January, the Business Evolution Center already has a waiting list, according to Village Planner Michael Garrigan.
“We’re basically 100 percent occupied,” Garrigan said of the program, which allows businesses to rent spaces in a 4,000-square-foot section of Village Hall. For just $100 per month per cubicle, startups get a professional office environment, plus access to the Internet, telephone service, copiers and use of a shared conference room.
“It allows them to kind of get their sea legs, so to speak,” Garrigan said.
Businesses can rent space for 12 to 18 months. The idea is to help them establish connections in the village so they’ll have an incentive to stay here once they move out on their own, Garrigan said.
“Hopefully, they’ll move on somewhere in Plainfield,” he said.
Currently, eight businesses occupy the evolution center, along with MainStreet Plainfield.
One of them is the Will County CrackerJacks’ parent company, Eloot Sports & Entertainment. The team plays its home games at Lewis University in Romeoville.
CrackerJacks General Manager Jamie Toole said the business evolution center is helping the new business establish itself.
“Last year, we were a startup where we didn’t require an office,” he said. “What [the evolution center] allows you to do is have a very professional environment.”
Now comfortably situated in its new digs in Plainfield, the CrackerJacks are planning for the future.
Toolel said the company has its sights set on building a 1,500-seat stadium and multi-sport facility in Will County.
“The next phase is to identify partners,” such as youth sports teams, Toole said. The stadium is also envisioned as a venue for festivals and concerts.
As for whether the company will stay in Plainfield, Toole said it’s a possibility.
“We really enjoy Plainfield,” he said. “Certainly Plainfield is an area that we really like … We’ve really made some strides with the team from last year to this year. I really believe that we would land in [Plainfield or Shorewood].”
For more information on the Business Evolution Center, click here.
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