SEASON 1: EPISODE NUMBER: 13
EPISODE GUEST: Chris Clouden
Chris Clouden has enjoyed watching Charlotte, NC grow and he has become part of the fabric of that growth to small businesses looking to make a start.
Originally from Buffalo, NY, 7th Street Public Market Executive Director has been in Charlotte, NC since 2006 and has enjoyed seeing the growth.
And he’s become part of it.
He started his career in Parks & Rec in NYC after attending college in the city and made his way south. He began working in Charlotte on the Sports Commission when an opportunity at what’s now the 7th Street Public Market came along. He decided to make the leap.
The Market was originally created to be a small business incubator – over 40 businesses have started there. Clouden classifies Charlotte as a foodie city and finds value in having something for everyone at 7th Street.
You can grab a coffee from Not Just Coffee, a fruit bowl from Rico’s Acai, a slice from Pure Pizza – all businesses that got their start at 7th Street.
It’s the passion these small businesses owners have that makes the Market such a success. “You take care of the product, we’ll handle the Market,” says Clouden. It’s an operational format that allows fledgling businesses to launch without worrying about managing the brick and mortar operations.
The Market gets at least one inquiry per week from a new business wanting a spot. The key is – most being able to operate without a full kitchen. Clouden says the goal with each business is to start them at the market and eventually have them move on, helping align them with business partners. The Market tries to rotate the space every 12 months.
“The effort and commitment that owners have is incredible to me.”
“People are inherently good, and we’ve seen that.”
– Chris Clouden, 7th Street Public Market
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