Location, Location, Location
Where you choose to locate your business will depend on the needs of your business.
A home office is often the first location for a new start up trying to save on rent and other start up costs. When the business is up and running you may consider moving into a larger space or decide that your home office is all that you need. Local zoning may restrict whether or not a home-based business is allowed.
A retail space in a downtown shopping district or shopping center is most appropriate for businesses selling goods or merchandise directly to consumers. Visibility, in terms of high pedestrian or automobile traffic, accessibility and convenience, and the attractiveness of the location are key considerations for retail locations. Service oriented businesses such as beauty shops or restaurants also may consider locating in a retail space.
Some businesses are based around products or services delivered to the consumer, in which case a mobile location, such as a car, truck or van may be the ideal location.
A commercial space such as an office park or building is typically most appropriate for professional businesses such as insurance agencies and doctors' offices. Accessibility and convenience are still key considerations for commercial locations but visibility is often not a concern. However, facility amenities such as a high-speed internet connection or conference room availability may make a big difference.
If your business is involved in the manufacturing or distribution of products then you will want to find an industrial location such as an industrial park or warehouse facility. The key consideration in selecting such a location is sufficient infrastructure, such as loading docks, access to adequate energy supplies or convenient access to rail or four-lane highway transportation.
Increasingly communities are providing entrepreneurs access to both a physical location and technical assistance under one roof in a business incubator. Some of these incubators are intended for specialized businesses such as a value added food processing or arts and crafts production while others are open to any kind of business idea.
Blue Ridge Business Development Center (BDC)
The BDC offers tailor-made training, business counseling services, incubation space, and flexible physical space in the form of offices, work stations, meeting facilities and potential small building sites. Free internet access is available.
The EnergyXchange Incubator program was established to support entrepreneurs in starting, managing and operating new businesses in the crafts of glass blowing and pottery.
If an incubator is not right for your business, a number of organizations in the High Country still can provide assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs looking for a new business location:
Ashe County Economic Development Commission's Sites and Buildings
Online database of business sites and buildings in Ashe County.
Caldwell County Economic Development Commission's Available Business Properties
Online database of available business properties in Caldwell County.
Mitchell County Economic Development Commission's Available Business Locations
Provides assistance finding a business location in Mitchell County.
Provides: Available site and building information, Cooperative contacts for site development, Real estate information, Community demographics and links. Sponsored by Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.
Watauga County EDC's Searchable Database of Available Buildings & Sites
Online database of business locations in Watauga County.
Wilkes County Economic Development Commission's Available Buildings and Sites
Online database of the various industrial and commercial buildings and sites that are available for sale or lease in Wilkes County.
Yancey County Economic Development Commission's Available Sites
Online database of the available business locations in Yancey County.