The Huntington Station Business Incubator is open and ready to do work.
With its location in the heart of the hamlet just south of the railroad station, town leaders hope it becomes the launchpad for businesses to develop and grow in town and serve as an integral part of the area's revitalization.
"Our goal is to help start-ups and early-stage businesses to take the next step with their businesses," Joan Cergol, director of the Huntington Community Development Agency, said last week, after a kickoff event at the facility. "We've created this incubator to offer co-working space, access to business counseling from organizations and volunteer business mentors."
Start-up and new business owners can join the incubator for a $250 monthly membership fee. That will give them access to established professionals who have partnered with the incubator to offer assistance on finance, marketing, counseling on business formation, accounting, public relations and other issues.
The facility at 1268 New York Ave. has two conference rooms, eight meeting rooms, a kitchen, Wi-Fi, teleconference equipment and options such as mail box service.
Cergol said the incubator has partnered with at least 10 organizations and businesses, including the Small Business Development Center at Farmingdale State College and La Fuerza Unida CDC, a business development micro lender. About 30 individuals from various business disciplines have signed on to be mentors. Cergol said they are seeking partners, mentors and members.
The town decided on the location after purchasing the building in 2008. A total of $850,000 in county, state and federal grants were used to renovate the site.
The facility's opening was delayed because officials decided to revamp the original organizational structure, settling on having the CDA run it with its partners.
Nieesha Williams, owner of TNT United Services, a Selden-based advertising, lending services and credit-card processing business, attended the Thursday kickoff event for the first group of registered mentors. She said the incubator and its services are a great business tool. "It's an opportunity to network and make contacts and get your name out there," she said.
Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said the incubator hopes to attract business owners like Williams. "It's a chance for young people who are looking to direct themselves to an area that they have interest and looking for the expertise to help," he said. "And we'll be there."