There’s a new crop of entrepreneurs in the city of DeSoto.
On Saturday, the community celebrated the grand opening of a unique incubator that features new business owners who needed a little help in starting up their own businesses.
It’s called the Grow DeSoto Market Place along East Beltline Road.
The 26,000 square foot former hardware store has been converted to fit up to 50 businesses inside, each hoping to taste sweet success.
“We do cakes, cookies, we do pies for the holiday season,” said Kathy Boyd, owner of Kaybee Cakes. “We can do vegan, we can do gluten free.”
Boyd says she left a corporate job to start her own bakery, but felt she hit a road block when considering whether to open a stand-alone shop.
“I don’t think it would be as feasible to be able to do it,” she said.
Then came Grow DeSoto Market Place.
It is a joint city venture that provides low rent and utilities paid to dozens of small businesses.
Migrants like Joaquin Hernandez can’t believe he’s opened up his own restaurant.
“The truth is I don’t even believe it,” he said in Spanish.
LaDameone Jackson is also among the vendors approved by the project.
“I’ve always dreamed of having my own business but I was working in my garage,” he said.
Now his clothing like ‘Misfitz’ is finally catching the eye of the public.
“[Shoppers] walked by ‘oh that looks nice, let me purchase that.’ Kind of gave me a good feeling that I can go further than what this is going to allow me to go,” said Jackson.
The goal is for shops to stay two to three years all while getting business and marketing help and becoming successful enough to move on to a bigger space.
Shoppers like Jikimi Garrett drove from Lancaster to show their support.
“The energy is high,” she said. “It’s a loving atmosphere. Everyone’s coming together, shopping, mingling, connecting, it’s amazing.”
There are still a few vacant spaces available.
Grow DeSoto is a 10-year commitment between the city and the DeSoto Economic Development Corporation.