Brenham’s first-ever retail incubator is set to open to the public next week.
A grand opening and ribbon cutting for YellowTruck Market at 101 East Main Street, in the old Bode and Tonn building, will be held on Thursday.
The incubator will partner with new business entrepreneurs in a two-year program, providing training, mentoring and networking opportunities to help them launch a successful business.
Incubator participants range from jewelry makers and bakers to merchandise designers, leather or wood crafters, and veteran-owned and minority-owned businesses. There are eight incubator participants: Company Five, Krafty Inc, Local Honey Bee Company, Pelayo’s Art and Folk, posey roe, The Butter Stick Bakery, The COEO, and Unc B’s Seasonings.
The program is a result of a public/private partnership between YellowTruck Owner/Investor Tiffany McMordie-Morisak, Brenham | Washington County Economic Development and Main Street Brenham.
Morisak said she hopes that YellowTruck Market “provides retailer participants the opportunity to learn and grow their business into a unique retail space that will be an asset in the community once they launch from the program in two years.”
Working with Morisak is a core team consisting of: Brenham Economic Development Director Susan Cates; Tourism and Marketing Director Jennifer Eckermann; Main Street Coordinator Kathrine Briscoe; and Economic Development Specialist Erica Warren.
The primary public funding source supporting the program and rent stipends for incubator participants is Brenham Community Development Corporation. An advisory board of strategic partners was developed and includes: the core team; Blinn College SBDC Director Matthew Wehring; Main Street Board Member Jon Hill; Washington County Chamber of Commerce President Wende Ragonis Anderson; and Brenham Community Development Corporation (BCDC) Board Member Gary Crocker.
Sponsors of YellowTruck Market who have assisted in providing equipment, services, and mentorship for the participants include: Lisa Wix, owner of Puppy Dawgs and Cat Tails – Merchandising consultant; Bank of Brenham – Retail Participant Services; Planify Agency – Business Consultant; Brand It Graphix – Signage; and Brenham National Bank – Business Services.
Eckermann said this project is “something in which other communities across the state are stopping to take notice.” Cates called business incubation a “tried-and-true model for small business growth” and hopes that this will be the first of several incubators in Washington County across various industries.