WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Building on 38 years of success with the Warren Flea and Farmer’s Market, its owners are now turning the neighboring building into a place for start-up companies to learn and grow.
The now-vacant building once housed the Union Auto Parts store on Main Street. Brad Levy, the owner of Warren Flea and Farmer’s Market, said he and his mother-in-law are transforming it into a privately-owned business incubator, calling it “The Flats,” named after the area of the city where it is located.
The business owners said they hope to restore interest back to the historic area and return it to its former glory. The Flats was once an important commercial focal point in town.
Already investing around $800,000 into the project, Levy has spruced up the old Union Auto Parts building and expects it to be operational this fall.
Warren Sixth Ward Councilwoman Cheryl Saffold said this is another way to bring jobs to the area.
“Jobs are hard to find everywhere, so entrepreneurship is the way to go, particularly for people that are finding it difficult to find a job,” she said.
The incubator will be the second in the city of Warren, but it has its differences from the one located on Courthouse Square, according to Warren Mayor Doug Franklin.
“This is not our traditional incubator,” he said. “The first incubator downtown is a tech belt energy incubator. This will be for entrepreneurs from every facet of commerce.”
“It’s going to play off the flea market as well. It’s going to be an enhancement to other businesses, and they have a way of going ahead and receiving or having a reception of different people walking in,” Levy said.
Applications for space in the building will be accepted, starting September 1.