We are transforming the Old Thompson's Drug store into a miniature street complete with shops (retail incubators) on each side of the "road", park benches, and a new breakfast and lunch restaurant all inside of the building!
Call us at 814-827-3668 to schedule a tour of the new retail incubator space!
Titusville Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Laurie Baker stands in the entryway of the first retail incubator under construction in the former Thompson’s Drug Store on Franklin Street in Titusville. An open house was held on Friday August 10th to give residents and visitors a chance to see how the interior will appear when construction is finished.
Retail Incubator Site Hosts Open House
By Mary Hill Herald Staff Writer | Posted: Tuesday, August 14, 2018 5:00 am
Main Street charm will come indoors at the former Thompson’s Drug Store on Franklin Street in the form of retail incubators.
According to Laurie Baker, executive director of the Titusville Redevelopment Authority, an open house was held at the former drug store on Friday during Titusville’s Oil Festival to give residents and visitors a chance to see how the retail incubators will appear when the space is complete.
Baker pointed to the first retail incubator that is currently under construction and said it is one of four incubators that will be built on the south side of the building.
She said each of the four incubators will be 12-by-12 feet in size.
Baker added that the other side of the structure will house three retail incubators, 12 by 14 feet in size.
“We are very pleased with how our first front turned out, complete with a kitty in the window,” she said.
Baker said the retail incubator is a space created for people who want to start their own small business, but aren’t ready to rent or buy a traditional storefront. What makes these incubators a great place to start a business is the fact that they offer new businesses a small first step with low costs in rent, utilities and advertising, along with a group of expert advisers ready to give support and guidance.
“We are excited to bring this opportunity to Titusville and support our mission for community and economic growth in the area,” she said.
Baker said there will also be office space up front on both sides of the building.
“And there will be an area for a small fresh fruit and vegetable stand,” she said.
Baker said there will be a restaurant in the rear of the 3,600-square-foot building that will serve breakfast and lunch; and in the center of the interior, there will be street lights on poles, picnic tables and park benches set up for shoppers and visitors.
“Everybody wants to bring back Thompson’s snack bar,” Baker said. “We are going to maintain the brick and we will have a wire covering (over the brick), and merchants can hang their products (on the wire covering), and we won’t lose the brick which is part of the charm.”
She said TRA staff began planning for the retail incubator three years ago, shortly before the devastating March 2015 Towne Square fire.
“We are very anxious to get started on it,” Baker said of beginning construction inside the former drug store. “We are applying for a Keystone Community grant through the (state) Department of Community and Economic Development.”
She said that many people visited the incubator during the open house and liked what they saw.
“Our goal is to take small businesses in the garage or home and they can grow here,” Baker said. “Gannon Small Business Development Center have offered their services and each tenant will be required to have one meeting with them.
“We are trying to take those very talented entrepreneurs and help them be successful businesses.”
She added that there will be an Incubators Association and each retail incubator will be required to join the association.
“There will be dues and those will go (toward) advertising,” Baker said.
She said that once the Keystone Community grant application is approved, construction can begin on the incubators.
“We’d like to get it done in a year,” Baker said. “The absolute latest goal would be two years.” Hill can be reached, by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.