Members of the Rocky Mount City Council last week took in a glittering example of what capital venturism and enterpreneurial spirit can do for a community.
The council held its annual retreat in Durham, a city it has visited before. As Telegram staff writer Brie Handgraaf reported, city leaders listened to the details of a project that has helped startup companies find wings in downtown Durham.
In the American Underground, budding companies with little money of their own are renting small islands of floor space with access to restrooms and other conveniences. Free from the sometimes daunting financial commitment of a long-term lease in a pricey building, entrepreneurs are able to concentrate their energies on growing sales, clients and the scope of the companies they lead.
Not coincidentally, American Underground has roots in the American Tobacco Campus, an undertaking of Capitol Broadcasting and Jim Goodmon. Those are the same visionaries who helped transform downtown Durham into a bustling center of offices, restaurants and entertainment, including the home of the Durham Bulls baseball team.
Goodmon and Capitol Broadcasting bought Rocky Mount Mills about seven years ago, and economic developers here have longed for a similar venture to take root in the historic textiles plant.
Capitol Broadcasting is inching forward with those dreams. A project manager has made the marketing of Rocky Mount Mills a top priority. Company officials promise to make a business strategy for the mills public in the next couple of months.
Here’s hoping for a success story similar to the one that has blossomed in Durham. Rocky Mount certainly needs one.