Starting a small business is a huge dream for many people. It takes heart, courage, knowledge, and determination. If you’re looking to start a business, and you need a location, look no further than Rowan County. Ranked 16th in WalletHub’s list of “Best Small Cities to Start a Business,” Salisbury provides resources to help small businesses get started and succeed.
One-Stop-Shop – Salisbury, NC
One such resource is the One-Stop-Shop located in Downtown Salisbury. Located at 132 N. Main Street, the One-Stop-Shop is a quintessential resource for local businesses and new business owners. Once a small business has determined what their business is and they are confident that they have the capital, it’s time to visit the One-Stop-Shop.
The One-Stop-Shop is literally that, a one-stop-shop for everything that a business owner needs to start a business. From permits, to zoning, to utilities, the One-Stop-Shop can help you with everything. All you need to do is go and ask. When you go to the One-Stop-Shop, you are greeted by a staff member who works with permitting. They will sit with you and discuss what you want and how to get it, even down to looking at available land for the type of business you want.
Teresa Barringer, Zoning Administrator, met with me and showed me how the process works. “We do this for every new business that walks through the door. We want them to be successful.” We sat down at a computer and she pulled up zoning for Salisbury. She explained what each of the zoning codes meant and where different businesses were allowed to be. After “choosing” a location, she went over the pre-application process, explaining what permits were needed and even showing me where to get them. Because the One-Stop-Shop is part of the Community Planning Services, almost everything a business needs is housed in that location. This includes engineering, permitting, zoning, and utilities.
After an application for a business is submitted, the case is assigned a Zoning Manager and an Engineer Manager. These people work very closely with the developers of the business. Information on the project is shared with all those involved, including the Fire Marshall, and can be accessed at any point during the process. The Zoning and Engineer managers go over all of the necessary permits and requirements before, during, and after the development process. They make comments on the developer’s plans so that everyone can see what is happening and what needs to be done to progress a project.
One of the most unique aspects of the One-Stop-Shop is their Thursday morning meetings. These meetings gather all involved, together, in the current and on-going projects in the town to discuss these projects. This includes the Department of Transportation, Fire Marshalls, Engineers, Planning Developers, etc. After their initial meeting, this committee meets with the developers of these projects. Teresa says, “Most developers are stunned by our ability to gather everyone together to meet to talk about their project. They say it never happens and they are grateful. It makes discussing their project so much easier.”
Teresa explained that for small businesses, their turn-around goal for comments and permit approval is 14 days. “I can’t promise it will always happen, but we try to move things along quickly for new businesses so they can be a part of our great community,” Teresa says. This doesn’t mean you can open a business in 14 days. It’s a process, with many steps and a lot of people, but the One-Stop-Shop is there to make sure that everything goes well.
Yet, the One-Stop-Shop doesn’t just work with small businesses. They work with everyone in Salisbury, from the general homeowner to the major developer. Turn-over takes a bit longer with larger developers and companies, but it’s still pretty quick.
The One-Stop-Shop is also a local authority to permit. This means that they are allowed to grant permits. Permitting usually takes a long time because it has to go through several governmental committees before it is approved. The One-Stop-Shop cuts that necessity. With small businesses, the One-Stop-Shop has the authority to grant permits, making it easier for the businesses to move forward in the process of having their business up and running. In 2019, the One-Stop-Shop registered 84 new businesses in Salisbury alone.
When I asked Teresa what advice she would give to a new business owner she said, “Call us! We can guide you through from the beginning. So many people make simple mistakes that cost them time and money just because they don’t know. We can help prevent that and get your business off to a great start.”
Ease of Permitting in Kannapolis, NC
While the One-Stop-Shop provides utilities and utility services for the majority of Rowan County, they can only grant permits to businesses directly in Salisbury. However, the city of Kannapolis has just made permitting easier for businesses.
Recently, the City of Kannapolis has joined Cabarrus County and the City of Concord to make submitting permits easier for both residents and developers. They are now using a process called Accela to process all plans.
Accela makes submitting permits easy because it is done online. You can submit all of the paperwork for your project through Accela. Both the City and County staff will have access to your submission and can begin the plan review process. This eliminates the need to go back and forth and submit information in person at the City and County offices (they do, however, still need a hard copy of any commercial plans). The City is also accepting credit card payments over the phone for submittal fees. By submitting permits online, it allows for the City and County to view the documents faster and at the same time. This allows them to work together more efficiently and avoid errors.
The goal with the new permitting system is to make approving permits easier and quicker. According to the Kannapolis City website, “While it takes time to ensure we review the plans appropriately, our goal with the new online system is to reduce the amount of time needed to approve permits, and to make the process easier and more convenient for you. We estimate the approval process for minor permits can be reduced by two to three days.”
Regardless of where you live in Rowan County, this is a perfect place to start a business. The One-Stop-Shop and the new Accela permitting system in Kannapolis provide an ease of access to all your business needs.
To find out more about the One-Stop-Shop, visit their website here or their on-site location at 132 N. Main St. Salisbury, NC.
To find out more about The City of Kannapolis and Accela, read this article here.