Future of Eloy business incubator uncertain

By Lindsey Gemme

Eloy Enterprise

Five years ago, the city requested Maralan Hutchins’ help as a Main Street program consultant in hopes of making the city’s downtown vibrant once more. After three years working on downtown development, and another two developing a business incubator and expansion program, Hutchins’ decision to retire last month and leave Eloy was a little bittersweet.

This year, the money finally ran out for a two-year Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) for $99,900 the city received from the USDA in 2010. These grants are made to small rural communities to try and encourage economic development. After applying, Hutchins’ accelerator and incubator plan was chosen to be funded out of only a handful of cities that have received RBEG funding in the last few years. According to Gary Mack, Business & Cooperatives Program Director for the USDA, the cities of Maricopa, Wickenburg and Springerville have been the only municipalities other than Eloy since 2010 that have received grant funds for various projects related to small business development.

Although the numbers of recipients are small, Mack says Eloy’s project was especially exciting.


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