LEXINGTON, N.C. -- The city of Lexington supports new business owners through the Business Community and Development department with the initiative "Think Local First."
Mayor Newell Clarks said the “think local first” mentality is meant not only to remind customers to buy local, but supports first time business owners.
"That department is a one stop shop," Clark said. "We can get them connected to dollars if they’re looking for an investment of some sort, we can get them connected to how to put a business plan together or even get them connected to landlords."
Clarks said the changes within the department began about six months after he was elected as Mayor.
Along with the addition of two more staff members to the department, a partnership between the Chamber of Commerce and Davidson County Community College offers seminars for first time business owners. In 2013, Lexington has had 23 ribbon cuttings and more than 40 businesses or expansions.
Clarks said the department is in the early stages of adding a small business loan program to the list of resources for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Greg Widener owner of Moco Mens is a business owner in another Triad city and said Lexington's assistance to entrepreneurs allows him to be successful.
"I had people I'd never seen in the world come by and say, 'Hey we saw this on the Mayor's twitter or this on councilman’s Facebook page, when is this going to be ready open?" Widener said.
Widener said he feels welcomed as a family member as a part of the Chamber of Commerce in Lexington.
Regan Treichler moved back home to Lexington to start Bam Nutrition in December.
Treichler said despite what many think, she has had success of health wellness and nutritional shakes in what's known to many as the barbecue capital.
“This summer we're definitely going to do some free fit camps where we workout in the parking lot and just get people interested in making Lexington a really healthy town as well as a great barbecue town," Treichler said.
Mayor Clark said he expects further growth and downtown residential development once the passenger rails service officially begins in June of 2015.