published Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Cleveland/Bradley Business Incubator celebrates 12 years or creating jobs

Kim Currin checks baking glassware at her business Kim Currin Creations on Friday at the Cleveland/Bradley Innovation Center, a part of the city and county business incubator. Tenants held their annual luncheon Friday, marking 12 years of creating new businesses at the incubator.
Kim Currin checks baking glassware at her business Kim Currin Creations on Friday at the Cleveland/Bradley Innovation Center, a part of the city and county business incubator. Tenants held their annual luncheon Friday, marking 12 years of creating new businesses at the incubator.
Photo by Randall Higgins.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Cleveland/Bradley Business Incubator entrepreneurs marked 12 years of creating businesses and jobs Friday.

From woodworking to massage products, reworked "trash glass" to home loan lending, the diversity of incubator businesses keeps growing, too, said Hurley Buff, incubator director.

Hometown Lenders is one of the fast-growing companies. In two years the company has created 28 jobs, owner Ben Phillips said. The company opens a 3,600-square-foot office in Chattanooga next week, he said. There will be 29 employees in Chattanooga and five in Cleveland.

"The job, if you are going to grow a business, is to be the best," Phillips said. "It's all about interest rates, about meeting people's needs better.

"The incubator helps us to be super-efficient," he said.

After the anniversary luncheon Friday, some businesses were open for visitors and fellow business owners. One of those was Kim Currin Creations.

She already was part of an incubator business that recruits restaurant management talent when she approached Buff about her idea to rework glass into jewelry and home decoration products such as night lights and platters.

The glass products have been fired in a kiln, making them harder than the original glass.

"To hold a bottle and a bottle that has been fired is two different things," she said. "I can break the one that hasn't been fired over your head. The other one would break your head."

The business owners named Cheryl Barker as their representative on the incubator board.

Her business, Serendipity, offers massage and body therapy, botanical skin care products and aromatherapy. The grand opening is in August.

And the incubator is now the location for a group new to Cleveland.

Compassionate Friends is an international organization, with a chapter in Chattanooga, for parents who have experienced the death of a child.

"I belong to a club no one wants to join," member Karen Bowles said.

The Chattanooga chapter holds monthly meetings. But it is reaching out to Jasper, Tenn., and Cleveland beginning in July, she said. In addition to Chattanooga meetings each month, the group with have Cleveland and Jasper meetings as well on alternating months, starting in July. The Cleveland meetings will be at the incubator's conference room.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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