GRANITE CITY — Seven months ago, the Granite City Business Foundry was founded as a networking group to establish an economy for businesses within the Granite City community by linking municipal, entrepreneurial and community goals.
On Aug. 5, the nonprofit organization had an event called the Foundation of the Foundry Expo at its new 11,000-square-foot building at 2054 Edison. About 30 business vendors displayed goods and services to the public.
“We have not completely renovated the building,” said Joe Colyer, co-president of the Granite City Business Foundry. “I bought it at the auction sans some cleaning and safety work to make sure no one gets hurt during this. We wanted the community to come through the building during this expo and their input on what they would like to see in different spaces. We want the community to hear that they own this building and they have a vested interest in seeing it succeed.”
Colyer shares foundry president duties with Vicky Arguelles, owner of Kool Beanz Café, which opened last year. Mandy Harris is the vice president, Dr. Laura Shipley is the community outreach director and Stephanie Bethel is the financial officer.
“We have about 24 members in the foundry,” Colyer said. “They’re all small businesses within the community.”
Six Mile Regional Library Center, Stephanie’s Spiritual Therapy, Shirts Galore and More, LJW Tax Service and Mr. Twist Ice Cream were among the businesses that had their displays at the expo.
“Not only is it a traditional expo, but we did have people from Happy Trails Farm and we have stage paintings from a local citizen that does it for the St. Elizabeth Picnic,” Colyer said.
The Granite City Business Foundry has its meetings every Thursday morning at the downtown branch of the Six Mile Library District at Delmar Avenue.
Colyer said one of the goals for the Granite City Business Foundry is to continue to communicate regularly with groups throughout the city to create a network of resources to help the city’s economy grow.
“I have the groundwork laid for a pharmacy discount program and diagnostic tests discount program that any time somebody in the community uses the discount card, the dollar will go back into its scholarship fund,” Colyer said. “I still have to put the final details on it, but I want to work with SWIC and some of the larger employers around here that if a student graduates from Granite City High School, that scholarship program will pay for their entire vocational program over at SWIC and they’ll be guaranteed an interview at large employers around here like U.S. Steel or Amsted Rail: the reason being that over 80 percent of the people working there are not indigenous to Granite City, so that money goes home to Edwardsville or one of the surrounding communities.”
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