Janesville hopes to keep businesses local as innovation center expands

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) ---- Since opening in 2013, the Janesville Innovation Center has been successfully helping businesses grow and is now large enough to operate without city support.

The business incubator provides office, storage and manufacturing spaces at low rent costs, allowing small local businesses to get off the ground, Gale Price, Janesville economic development director, said. The center was able to provide low-cost space due to city support, but now has enough tenants to sustain itself independently.

"It really illustrates the entrepreneurship spirit we have here in Rock County, and we believe there is more to come that will continue to fill the space," Price said.

Brian Garcia, co-founder of Copper Fire Tees, said working out of the Innovation Center has provided him with the space he needed to expand his business without spending a large amount on rent.

He said Copper Fire Tees has nearly double its profits from last year, and he now plans to make the T-shirt business his full-time job and to keep his growing business in Janesville.

"With their forward thinking of, 'we're going to give the little guys a place to start out, spread their wings,' we're not going anywhere," Garcia said.

Price said the center hopes to see some of the businesses in the center expand to the point they have to find larger spaces and that they will continue to bring growth to Janesville.

With the success of the center, the city is looking to partner with a private developer to create another Innovation Center with even larger spaces, Price said.

Copyright 2016: WMTV