Mayor's Innovation Delivery Team Sparking New Businesses

Mayor's Innovation Delivery Team Sparking New Businesses

If you haven't been to Broad Avenue in Binghampton recently, you need to go see what's happening there. It's an arts district with new businesses moving in, and a lot of it is the work of the Mayor's Innovation Delivery Team.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) - If you haven't been to Broad Avenue in Binghampton recently, you need to go see what's happening there. It's an arts district with new businesses moving in, and a lot of it is the work of the Mayor's Innovation Delivery Team. The group is working to cut down on crime and improve Memphis neighborhoods.

Broad Avenue is changing with new stores opening every few weeks. There are new art galleries, restaurants and shops. Five in One Social Club opened off Broad Avenue in mid-April.

"Opening your own business is not an easy thing so it's been really great to have folks to help us along the way," said Alice Laskey-Castle, who is working with the Mayor's Innovation Delivery Team to get the business up and running.

"To have a storefront was really a dream of ours,"" she said.

Transforming Broad Avenue is just one of the things the 9-member team is doing.

According to the group's director Doug McGowan, they're also working to "eliminate blight and crime from neighborhoods," he said. "We've chosen three neighborhoods to focus on in south Memphis, Binghampton and Madison Crosstown area."

After cleaning things up, the team focuses on adding businesses through what's called MEMShop.

McGowan said, "It's about bringing retail back to neighborhood that's needed."

They help entrepreneurs get started, providing 6 months of free or cheap rent and mentors to help along the way.

"Our hope is as many businesses as possible will sign a lease after that."

There's been significant improvements on Broad Avenue with four new art businesses from MEMShop, Five in One Social Club as one example.

"We're a retail store where you can buy things that are made right here in Memphis. Then the social club, we call it kindergarten for grown folks. It's a place where you can make things in Memphis and teach classes twice a week," said Laskey-Castle. "We love this neighborhood; it's a great fit for us. So yes, we're hoping to stay."

The changes aren't slowing down. MEMShop is opening at least two more stores in the area in the next few months.

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