Construction began at The Mill on Park's downtown Aiken location before Christmas, and Catie Rabun can report good news that actually surprised her.
The president of Caradasa LLC, Rabun worked with her father, David Sacks, in pursuing the concept of an office community – providing spaces for small businesses, one-person offices and a larger space that Best Lawyers is now occupying.
The small businesses have their own offices, but can utilize as needed rooms designed for conferences or business equipment.
“We have 50 percent of our space upstairs with seven businesses already moved in,” Rabun said during a media day on Wednesday. “I didn't expect so many this soon.”
On his way to the Savannah River Site, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., stopped by to visit.
“This is brilliant,” he said. “For those starting a business, this is an alternative to a business starting out or being in a garage ... From a Chamber point of view, this is a good way to recruit business.”
Rabun is formally collaborating with USC Aiken and the Small Business Development Center, located on campus.
Both will have a presence at The Mill on Park.
Dr. Deidre Martin, USCA vice chancellor for University Advancement, is bringing two roles to the venture.
The Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce provided encouragement for the project, and Martin is also a member of The Mill's advisory board.
“We're so excited to be a part of this,” she said. “Chancellor Dr. (Sandra) Jordan brought a lot of energy and new ideas, and one of her visions was to have a larger presence in downtown Aiken ... This is a mill that's producing small-business owners and entrepreneurs.”
The Mill is also renovating a first-floor space into a restaurant that will offer coffee and sandwiches, Rabun said – not only for the tenants, but for the public.
The Mill on Park is located at 237 Park Ave. S.W.
For more information, call 803-215-4731 or visit www.facebook.com/themillonpark.
Senior writer Rob Novit is the Aiken Standard's education reporter.