2019 Award of Merit - Best Innovation
Gearworks, located at 120 E. Main Street in Garner, is a new and successful public-private experiment to turn underutilized town-owned space into something useful for economic development.
Gearworks is a “bridge space” and houses small, scalable companies that are not quite ready for market-rate office space. Over the past several years, downtown Garner has become an attractive location for tech start-ups and there has been a strong need for small office space and support.
The first tenant at Gearworks, Operation 36, has been an integral partner in the project and they worked closely with the Town of Garner to design the vision for the space and outline the public-private partnership.
At Gearworks, the Town leases slightly subsidized space to growing businesses. In exchange, tenants work with Town staff to identify opportunities to give back to Garner’s youth entrepreneurs and creative-class economy. The experiment has been a success and Gearworks is already profitable after only a year of operation. Garner invested a little over $15,000 to uplift and outfit the Gearworks space while earning more than $17,000 in rental income. The rental income is being used to build an operational cushion that can be used for other downtown economic development projects.
Congratulations to this Small Town Main Street community for its 2019 award.
In the category of Organization, Best Innovation recognizes worthy examples of innovation in a Main Street community.
An Award of Merit is presented to Downtown Garner Association, and the Town of Garner for Gearworks Bridge Space