- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
“It’s a vote of confidence for Paris,” PEDC Director Steve Gilbert said at Tuesday’s meeting.
The investment will go to upgrade machinery and equipment and increase capacity that will allow Kimberly-Clark to make new products and keep up with product changes, making the plant more competitive and responsive to market demand.
Plans include upgrading machinery and equipment used in manufacturing Huggies, Pull-Ups, Goodnights and Little Swimmers. For example, the enhancements will allow Kimberly-Clark to add new features to training paints and manufacture a new slip-on diaper.
The tax abatement goes into effect Jan. 1 and runs through Dec. 31, 2022. It’s a 100-percent tax abatement on the value of the improvements through 2019, with a 90-percent abatement in 2020, 70 percent in 2021 and 47 percent in 2022.
There are no job requirements in the proposed agreement, although one clause requires the manufacturer to “retain sufficient employment levels to efficiently operate and support its plant operations” while the abatement is in effect.
The Paris City Council approved the abatement Monday. Lamar County commissioners and the Paris Junior College board of regents may also consider it. School districts cannot offer tax abatements.
In other business, the PEDC board:
Could you use $10,000 for your small business? Better hurry. There’s only three weeks left in the Red River Region Business Incubator’s business plan competition.
There are two categories in the competition. The Entrepreneur Division is open to anyone who is ready to implement the business plan right away. The winner gets a $10,000 cash prize.
There’s also a Student Division for students or aspiring entrepreneurs who plan open their own business, but aren’t in a position to make the move now. The winning plan gets $1,000.
The business plans will be judged on feasibility of the business concept, potential to create employment, potential to attract investment and the entrepreneur’s ability to execute the plan. The business plan must be for a seed, start-up or early stage existing business and must address the entire business concept, including implementation.
For more information or to submit your own entry, call incubator Director Fred Green at 903-905-4979 or visit the R3bi website at www.R3bi.org.
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For more information and to register, call the Paris Small Business Development Center at 903 782-0224.
“I am not going away, just passing the baton for day to day incubator operations,” said Fred Green, the current director.
The new director should be in place by October. Green will work with the candidate through the end of the year and then conduct project management for PEDC on implementing its business plan.
Green had the background Paris needed when R3bi started, PEDC Director Steve Gilbert said – corporate, manufacturing and retail businesses, both domestically and internationally. He also worked for many years as a small business consultant.
“Fred will be hard to replace,” Gilbert said. “He really was the perfect guy at the perfect time for the incubator.
Advertising for the position says the ideal candidate’s qualifications will include:
“He is credited with implementing an idea and working tirelessly to get the incubator facility remodeled, up and running in a very short period of time,” Gilbert said. “If we can find somebody with a similar mix of experience I would be very pleased. We also need fund-raising experience.”
Green told Gilbert when he came on board that he never planned to run the operation forever. His mission was to establish and operate an incubator. Now that that’s been accomplished, it’s time to let someone else take the reins, he said.
“Part of it’s personal,” Green said. “I want to be able to go when I hear from my daughter that my grandson is playing in a football game in Quanah, Texas, on Thursday night.”
“You are the lifeblood of our country,” Sue Malone, director of marketing for Superior Financial Group, the top provider of SBA loans in the country, told those gathered for the Small Business & Entrepreneur Boot Camp. “We are the number one nation because of you.”
The Red River Region Business Incubator, along with the university and Small Business Development Center, held its first-ever boot camp Friday and Saturday. About 40 students attended the two-day event. Seventeen had scholarships from Texas Workforce Solutions, 10 from PEDC and one from a Mount Vernon Rotary Club.
“The biggest thing I see that stops businesses is a four letter word called fear,” Malone said. “The only thing that can stop you is you.”
The students learned about organizations such as the SBDC, which exists to help remove that fear. Its services are free.
“You have to have a passion for what you want to do. That passion in many cases has to lead to perseverance,” said Jim Struwe, an adviser with the Paris SBDC. “There’s a lot fear in this because it’s unknown.”
The group included several small business owners, a few students and people who showed up “because you can’t work for somebody.” And of course, everyone had an idea and a passion and a drive to pursue it.
“That’s the kicker,” said Steve Gilbert, director of the Paris Economic Development Corp. “You can’t be a successful entrepreneur if you don’t have fire in the belly.”
R3bi’s boot camp fired up the attendees enough that they felt it was worth the time and expense to attend. Reviews rated the overall event at about 4.6 out of 5.
“It was a tremendous boost for us and our business, and we feel extremely fortunate to have been a part of it,” one attendee wrote. “Kudos to you and your team!”
One major point that was hammered home several times is that every company needs a business plan.
The plan is frequently called a business’ roadmap to the future, but a good plan predicts the future. It helps increase the probability of success.
“The best business plans are dogeared,” Gottshalk said. “They’re edited. They’re corrected. They’re scrutinized constantly, but they’re usable.”
If the business plan isn’t leading in the direction you want to go, Gottshalk said, correct it or change direction.
Topics also included:
Lunch both days featured a discussion from a “real, live, risk-taking local entrepreneur.” The first was Shannon Arnold Foltz, who left the construction industry to be with her family and later founded Just Pies in West Tawakoni. Day two had Kelli Mallicote with Bodyguard Truck Accessories.
Foltz said she had no idea what she was getting into when she first started.
“I would highly, highly recommend doing the research first,” she said. “I did 8 months of research before I ever opened the doors. In that 8 months, I probably saved myself two heart attacks and probably about $50,000.”
Bodyguard is a true bootstrap success story that started with Grant Mallicote building truck bumpers as a hobby and has grown to the point that the company plans to move into commercial space in Paris this fall. But it remains a small business, with all that that entails.
“This is my life. I work at night. I work weekends. I work from my cell phone. I do this 24/7,” Kelli Mallicote said. “It’s not like I can just go off for a week and everything be OK.”
That sort of brutal honesty was evident throughout the boot camp. After all, working for yourself sounds great, but starting a new business means more hours, more responsibility, potentially less money the possibility the entrepreneur’s “better mousetrap” may not have a market.
“Why would you want to be in business for yourself in the first place?” R3bi Director Fred Green said. “There’s a lot an entrepreneur has to do that if you work for someone else you may not have to do.”
Only 20 percent of businesses survive their first five years, which means four out of every five fail. Incubators exist to help boost the odds of those four.
Even with all the economic woes today, this may be the best time ever to start a business, according to Hank Betke, a “serial entrepreneur” who as an R3bi mentor. They have tools available like Malone’s loan programs, the incubator and SBDC. And even if real unemployment is around 15 percent, that means 85 percent of the country is working.
“As a glass half-full kind of guy, I like those odds. I’m in,” he said. “You’re not alone. In my way of thinking, you’re in the right place at the right time. You’re making the right investment. You’re investing in yourself.”
Attendees were invited to participate in the $10,000 business plan competition R3bi is sponsoring through Sept. 5.
“The business plan competition is intended for any existing business that is making a change,” Green said. “It’s also intended for any entrepreneur who plans to start a business in the next 10 months and needs a business plan.”
Judges include professionals from Florida, Indiana, Texas Panhandle, Wyoming, California.
The winner also gets one free year in the incubator.
“You’re going to have us, and we’re going to be on your back for the next year,” Green said.