Margaretville eCenter site set to open

By Geoff Samuels
Any one familiar with Main Street Margaretville knows that the old three-story building, formerly housing the thrift store, has changed in appearance. This Civil War era structure will soon be reborn as the new Margaretville eCenter. A help-wanted ad for an “incubator coordinator” in the September 19 issue of this paper was the most recent tip-off for the opening.

Through the availability of low rent office space with wireless connectivity, fax, copy machines and a laptop equipped conference room, the eCenter will be a place where fledgling businesses can “incubate,” or get a jump-start in today’s tough economic environment.

According to Jim Thompson, chairman of the Catskill Development Foundation that already owns and operates the eCenter in Delhi, there are four offices on the first floor of the recently renovated Margaretville building that will be available to start-up businesses as soon as new office furniture purchases are complete.

In a phone interview, Thompson describes the eCenter in Delhi as “going very well.” All of its nine
offices are currently full, and some of the tenants continue to hire more employees, which benefits the community even further. He said he got the idea for the eCenter when he realized there were folks living in rural areas that were still using dial-up connections to try to start a business.

In order to qualify for office space in the new building, a prospective tenant must first put forth a viable business plan. One of the services offered by the eCenter will be counseling on just how to produce such a plan. Other services will include a variety of business and computer courses that will aid the entrepreneurs in their new endeavors. The conference room will also be available for business groups just needing a place to meet.

Originally formed to own and operate the Delhi eCenter, the Catskill Development Foundation receives funding through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC), the Delaware County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) and New York State through Senator Bonacic.

Thompson said the Catskill Development Foundation purchased the building from the Masonic Lodge, and still rents the third floor to them. Second Nature Construction, a local firm, did the renovations with all new plumbing and wiring. A new roof was installed and the old aluminum siding was replaced with genuine wood. The second floor is still open studs and will be finished off according to future demand.