Superior Business Center Promotes New Businesses
The Superior Business Center (SBC) is a business incubation center that has served Superior and Douglas County since 1989. The SBC facility is located at 1423 North 8th Street in Superior, and is managed by Jim Caesar.
With a large loading dock area and easy access to both highways 2 and 53, as well as the Blatnik Bridge, the SBC is situated nicely for businesses that rely on trucking for delivery of raw materials and for shipping of their finished products.
Why SBC Was Created
The mission of SBC is to foster economic development in our area through the provision of affordable leased space. SBC also provides other resources such as office space and cubicles, a receptionist center, voice mail, copying/faxing services, meeting areas, a commercial kitchen, and warehouse space suitable for manufacturing or wholesale business needs.
By providing a home for small business start-ups with limited term leases, SBC can assist a budding entrepreneur in getting up and running. Along with the cooperation and guidance of other organizations in our area such as the Development Association and the Small Business Development Center, SBC can provide a short-term home for a business that might otherwise not survive the start-up period.
SBC propery manager Jim Caesar views the building as a resource center for small businesses as they start-up and/or expand. Using the SBC as temporary business housing serves multiple purposes, from moving a home-based business into a professional atmosphere, to providing a hiring, training and launch center for established businesses such as Kwik Trip.
Coupled with his role as Executive Director of the Development Association, Mr. Caesar is able to point new business owners in the right direction for loans and grants, and can help establish their business in a first-rate facility. While their are three long-term anchor tenants whose rent powers this operation, the smaller start-up businesses have limited-term lease agreements designed to transition them into commercial rental spaces once their business is established.
According to Mr. Caesar, the SBC space is designed for a variety of business models, including office and conference room space, light to medium manufacturing, wholesale businesses, trucking, and warehouse-based businesses. There is also a licensed commercial kitchen that permits shared-use among multiple tenants for the purpose of catering or creation of retail food products.
Variety of Options in One Space
The physical plant that is the SBC has a large foot-print ranging from sprawling warehouse areas, to a large manufacturing floor that specializes in door production, a modern and licensed commercial kitchen, to individual office spaces and cubicle suitable for one-person shops.
Of particular note is the large loading dock that can accommodate semi-trucks. There is adequate parking in the front for visiting customers, and a large lot in the back for shipping and receiving.
A conference room can be rented for meetings, presentations and general strategizing, and the front receptionist area gives small businesses the look of being well established and professional. Some business owners are in the facility everyday, and other businesses based in other cities use their offices as occasional work space when in Superior for customer visits.
Tenants using the commercial kitchen space are assigned designated dry and refrigerated storage spaces, and utilize a sign-in/sign-out procedure to reserve their time in the kitchen. This space not only has prep and production areas, but also a full dishroom for clean-up and sanitation purposes. Tenants operate under a shared-kitchen arrangement and are inspected annually by the Douglas County Health Department.
Anchor Tenants Support Small Business Development
According to Mr. Caesar, the SBC is self-sustaining, thanks in part to longer-term lease arrangements made with three large tenants. These tenants include IHS Door Company, Great Lakes Office Solutions, and Environmental Consulting & Testing.
The rent and utility costs paid by these tenants alone cover the facility operating expenses, and enables the SBC to fulfill its mission as a business incubator for the fifteen other businesses benefiting from leasing space there. One such start-up business benefiting from this arrangement is the Strength Factory, a strength and training business started by Kelly Kellar last year.
Originally opened in the old depot and former antique store at the western end of Broadway, Ms. Kellar found her first location not a good fit for her business. Fortunately, she was able to get a fresh start at SBC this past May and this has breathed fresh life into her entrepreneurial spirit. ES will share more about this business in an upcoming article.
SBC Success Stories
Over the years, several businesses that got their start in SBC have gone on to great success elsewhere in the Twin Ports. These success add to the overall employment and economic health of our entire region.
Of particular note among the success stories is Exodus Machines that leased space at SBC from 2008 until 2009. They currently occupy a 32,000 square foot facility on Connors Point where they manufacture heavy equipment for Caterpillar, and multiple products for the scrap steel industry. This business alone generated dozens of jobs for our area.
FedEx Ground currently operates a 40,000 square foot facility in the Vinje Industrial Park, and employs about 50 workers there. Prior to establishing this operation however, FedEx Ground got its start in the Superior Business Center.
SBC Teams With Public & Private Organizations
The SBC partners with a number or organizations throughout the Twin Ports who work closely with its “incubator” tenants in hopes of helping them successfully launch, sustain, and grow their businesses, including…
The Superior Business Center can be reached here:
Explore Superior Economic Development Series
Business Incubator Hatches Superior Opportunities, August 21st
Why Develop In Superior? – August 18th
Earth Rider Brewery Construction – August 16th
What’s Happening at The Cedar Lounge? – August 14th
Important Economic Development Concepts – August 8th
Video Tour of Empire Block, August 7th
Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce, July 1st
Superior Business Improvement District, June 30th
The Development Association “Grows Biz!”, June 29th
City Planning & Economic Development, June 27th
Small Business Development Center, June 26th
How Development Happens in Superior, June 23rd
Youth Movement Changing Superior, June 22nd