Chamber looks ahead on grant projects

Oct. 31—HIGH POINT — Business High Point—Chamber of Commerce leaders say they're implementing state grant awards to support two initiatives.

The N.C. General Assembly in 2022 allocated nearly $2.8 million to expand The Generator at Congdon Yards to an additional site.

BHP Chamber President and CEO Rachel Collins said planning for this is moving forward, but the expansion likely won't be in the original target in the former Pickett Cotton Mill at 1200 Redding Drive.

"I don't know if that specific location is still one of our options, but we are in discussions locally with another entity for an expansion to be in the same proximity," Collins said.

The historic mill building has been redeveloped by home furnishings company Classical Elements and can't accommodate the space needs of The Generator, which is a production and prototyping facility that includes a commercial-grade woodshop geared toward small furniture manufacturers and designers.

The existing site will host an open house Nov. 16 to showcase examples of what it's producing.

"It has so much potential," Collins said, adding that The Generator has drawn a lot of use from students.

"We've had the school of textiles from N.C. State. We've had a lot of academic sectors come and really want to see how they can plug in," she said. "So the word is getting out."

BHP Chamber's other recent grant project is an expansion of Thrive High Point — which serves minority and women-owned businesses — funded by $1 million that was appropriated in the state budget adopted in September.

The initiative provides coaching and counseling services for startups and existing companies that may face disadvantages in access to resources, capital, support and training.

Collins said the concept for the expansion will be to help Thrive High Point clients find brick-and-mortar locations in the Washington Street area.

"If we can provide an office or a space for businesses to open up, that would enable them to not have so much overhead cost to get into a space," he said. "So we're working with those current stakeholders on Washington Street to figure out what they would like to see."