Entrepreneur center opens

'The Hangar' ready to launch new ideas

<br/>Mary Thompson, back left, along with Alisha Hendrickson (seated) and Karen Acker, look forward to welcoming entrepreneurs and business people to the new Hangar facility on Hwy. 34 in Park Rapids.<br/>
Robin Fish / Park Rapids Enterprise<br/>
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Entrepreneurs and business people have a new resource in Park Rapids.

The Hangar is located at 100 8th St. E. on Hwy. 71 north of the fire hall in the gray brick building that was formerly Seip Pharmacy and the city liquor store and will offer 24-hour access to office space and equipment.

“When you talk about entrepreneur centers, you want to create a launch-off place where you can get the groundwork to get to the next level,” said Heartland Lakes Development Commission Executive (HLDC) Director Mary Thompson.

“Hangar has that connotation,” she said. “We want to help entrepreneurs take flight. We were thrilled to receive some assistance from the Industries of Park Rapids, a non-profit that provides assistance to businesses in the community. Sanford of Bemidji also provided us with a contribution to help with the renovation of The Hangar. They believe it’s worthwhile for the economic vitality of the community.”

Membership options

The Hangar will serve three groups of people.
The first group is entrepreneurs who are looking at starting a business. “They may be looking for guidance, mentoring and equipment to get started,” Thompson said.


The second group is small business owners. “They may want to create a report and need access to a really nice, multi-function printer that can also fax and scan, staple and three-hole punch, or really good internet, or they need to print a poster or blueprint on our wide-format machine. You can send your job to the machine from home and it will sit there until you come and scan your card, and then it prints.”

The third group is remote workers. “Maybe they need a place to meet with a client besides at their kitchen table, or a place to have a Zoom meeting, or just want someone to bounce ideas off or chat with,” she said.

Regular hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“Once we are 100 percent done with construction we plan to open for 24-hour service around March 1 for those with Hangar memberships,” she said.

Memberships range from a one-day pass to unlimited access.

“If somebody’s here on vacation and they need to run in and do a few things for the office, they can get a day pass for $20. A pass for five consecutive days is $75. Each membership comes with a different amount of print allowances. There are also monthly plans ranging from $70 for five days, $135 for 10 days and $250 for unlimited access and $30 worth of printing. If you’re a person who wants to work from midnight to 6 a.m., you could do that.”

The facility also has a conference room with a phone that can be reserved by non-members for meetings for a fee of $40 for four hours or $75 for the day. A widescreen TV with Zoom capabilities will also be available. The conference table will fit 10-12 people for meetings.

The rest of the space includes tables and chairs for people to work on their laptops and a kitchenette. Coffee, bottled water, pop and a snack bar will be available.


A shared space

The building is divided into two sections, The Hangar and the HLDC office, which has free resources available to business owners and entrepreneurs.

Alisha Hendrickson is a full-time staff person and Karen Acker a part-time staff person.

Thompson said HLDC is a resource to help entrepreneurs with a business plan, resources and financing options.

“I can help with applications to financial tools available, such as the Park Rapids Revolving Loan Fund,” she said. “We also have the Main Street Revitalization Program.”

Thompson said her staff will be helping coordinate the activities of The Hangar, run the copier or find resources they need.”

An open house is tentatively planned for this spring.

The Hangar is open for business now, and visitors are welcome to stop by to visit or sign up for memberships.

“I think The Hangar provides another quality of place that will help attract workers to the community,” she said. “We are going to start offering training opportunities in the near future. It’s really exciting we have the opportunity to add this to our community. We want it to be a vibrant and welcoming place for people.”


Related Topics: LOCAL BUSINESS
Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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