BUCKHANNON – The first retailer in the new Upshur County Innovation Center in downtown Buckhannon is officially open for business.
Boost Mobile quietly opened Thursday, Feb. 27 on the first floor of the Upshur County Development Authority’s signature economic development project on Main Street.
David Daugherty, owner of Boost Mobile here and in Elkins, said he signed a three-year lease because the price was right – and so was the location.
“I wanted to be in downtown Buckhannon because it’s just a booming little area,” Daugherty said. “And to be honest, it was one of the most affordable spaces I could find. It’s a prime location in my opinion – you couldn’t get any better than this.”
Daugherty said the store is planning a multi-day grand opening later in March, but in the meantime, he’s happy with his choice.
“I’ve gotten a lot of foot traffic so far in and out just from being in this location,” he said.
Boost Mobile is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Upshur County Development Authority Executive Director Rob Hinton said Thursday that all spaces on the first and third floors of the Innovation Center are committed.
The three-story, $3.7 million-dollar building is located at the corner of Spring and Main streets and houses the IDEA, a co-working or shared workspace, on the second floor with both private offices and an integrated focus area.
Hinton said the LHC Group, which operates locally as West Virginia Home Health, will set up a corporate headquarters on the Innovation Center’s third floor. West Virginia Home Health provides in-home health and hospice services as well as medical administration.
“They’re going to be expanding their operations here and adding some new employees,” Hinton said.
West Virginia Home Health is currently located at Hartman Plaza.
The World’s End Restaurant, which was previously located inside Dough Re Mi at the corner of College Avenue, has committed to move into a front corner space on the Innovation Center’s first floor. Since it moved out of Dough Re Mi, World’s End has been hosting pop-up culinary events. Chef Jon Arbogast dabbles in a wide range of culinary traditions, but his specialty is Indo-Asian and Southern Americana cuisine.
The final space on the first floor of the Innovation Center will house an ICAT laboratory for third-party testing and quality control of hemp and CBD, or cannabidiol, products, Hinton said. The growing hemp and CBD industry has created a demand for verifying the potency of products, he previously told Buckhannon City Council during a February meeting.
“What has been really unique is that in hemp industry, there’s a lot of demand for third-party testing and quality control,” Hinton said. “There’s a bottleneck in testing, so we’ve recruited a lab to the Innovation Center.”
And although there’s been an uptick in traffic into the coworking space on the second floor, Hinton said space is still available in the IDEA, both shared and private. IDEA stands for Innovate, Develop, Educate and Advance.
Coworking space is an open, shared office that can be rented on a more affordable month-to-month basis by both startup and more established businesses. There are designated office spaces that are private with doors as well as a shared common working area. If tenants in the shared area need to take private phone calls, there is a soundproof booth in which to do so and private conference rooms that may be reserved.
Anyone who’s interested in renting a space in the IDEA should stop by the development authority, which is located on the second floor of the Innovation Center, 21 E. Main St., or call 304-472-1757. Find the IDEA on Facebook or visit their website by clicking here.
The second floor is also home to the Region VII Planning and Development Council and a small business coach with the West Virginia Small Business Development Center, giving entrepreneurs and small businesses easy access to additional resources as they launch and grow.
Hinton said Thursday the UCDA is in the closing process for funding through the New Market Tax Credit Program. The intent of NMTC program, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s website, is to draw private capital into low-income communities by permitting individual and corporate investors to receive a tax credit against their federal income tax in exchange for making equity investments in specialized financial intermediaries called Community Development Entities.
Once that process is finalized, Hinton said additional funds will be available to assist with buildouts on the first and third floors.