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Artesia Main Streets’ new Wellspring program aims to support entrepreneurs, revitalize downtown

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According to Artesia MainStreet (AMS) Executive Director Morgan Fox, “One of the four points of Artesia MainStreet is Economic Vitality.” In an attempt to build the local economy, support local entrepreneurs, and avoid vacancies in downtown retail spaces, Fox has initiated the Wellspring Entrepreneur Program.

“In this rendition of the program, residents were encouraged to apply for a three-part entrepreneur bootcamp, instructed by Sean O’Shea, a New Mexico MainStreet restoration specialist and founder and president of HatchForm, an economic development consulting firm in Santa Fe,” explained Fox. “Students learned the 101 of opening a small business and worked to formulate a pitch for the culmination of this round of the Wellspring Program.”

On Wednesday evening, three participants pitched their ideas to a judging panel in a “progressive style pitch.” Each entrepreneur presented their plans for a currently available property in the downtown district. Judges and other attendees of the event travelled to each location to hear the pitches before reaching the 510 Building at 510 W. Main St. for a reception, during which the winner was announced.

The results will appear in next Thursday’s edition of the Artesia Daily Press. The winner will receive $5,000 in business reimbursements.

Fox explained this program and presentation style emerged when “Artesia MainStreet noticed a problem; we are not lacking in entrepreneurs with great ideas, but we are lacking in available retail space for fledgling businesses. Artesia’s downtown does have available retail buildings, but they’re large and require a bit more capital than a lease in a small space.”

These presentations allow AMS to “highlight these buildings, support budding entrepreneurs, and create a network of investors.”

The presenters included Debbie Edwards, Gabriel Longoria and Samantha Peak. Edwards presented her plan for an all-purpose event center in the vacant Artesia Family Fitness Center. Edwards and her business partner, Anna Whitmire, plan to open a venue for food truck events, weddings, bridal showers, business meetings, post-season sports banquets, and more.

Longoria, who presented in the vacant Artesia Furniture store at Fourth Street and Quay Avenue, is seeking to open Bat and Boujee, which will feature hitting and pitching lanes and an agility and conditioning facility to cater to softball and baseball teams in need of indoor training during winter months.

Peak is seeking to expand her current massage therapy business, Sense Sational Oasis, to include a full body experience that would include massage, stretching, full body exfoliation and paraffin wax, detoxification through the feet, and hydration services.

“We hope this is just the beginning of the help we can offer the business-minded folks of Artesia,” said Fox. “If you have any questions about starting a small business, buying or leasing a property in the Main Street district, want to be connected as part of an investor group, or a myriad of other economic development goals, please reach out to Artesia MainStreet at 575-703-0841 or mainstreet@pvtn.net.”

Photo courtesy Artesia MainStreet

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