Plan to repurpose Skaggs Building wins $5,000 NexGen SPARK start-up grant

PLAINVIEW – A plan to repurpose the historic Skaggs Building in downtown Plainview won the fourth annual NexGen SPARK Entrepreneur Competition at Wayland Baptist University.

Owners of the building, Ranada, Jeremy and Jimmy Jack, looked on Monday night as five Wayland School of Business students made a pitch for the project. The owners are working with Plainview Downtown Restoration Inc. to breathe new life into the multi-story building at Seventh and Broadway, and Santiago Hernandez, Louis Soares, Yoherlian Bajarano, Edgar Zamarripa, and Matthew Howard presented a business plan that won the approval of the judges, a $5,000 start-up grant for the Jacks, and a $500 cash award for each student.

“We’re going to do it,” Ranada Jack said after the contest.

Two potential start-up businesses were in the competition, which was one of the closest competitions ever, according to Dr. Charles Starnes, Professor of Economics. Close in the judging was a plan to create Milagro Coffee Roasters, a business proposed by Dr. Jason Geesey, Associate Dean of the School of Business. Daniel Torres, Brooks Browning, Gabriel Tito, Aiden Childs, and Teddy Judkins presented that business plan, garnering a $250 cash prize for each for their work.

The Skaggs Building team suggested “modernizing our history” by repurposing the historic building into a restaurant, downtown apartments, and a rooftop outdoor venue at a cost of $3.1 million. Their proposal suggested using grants, investors, and revenue from the three repurposing projects. They proposed 14 apartments on two floors renting at $800 per month. Key resources were identified as the building, partnerships with schools and other community organizations and investors interested in preserving the downtown area.

The Milagro Coffee Roasters team suggested a company that would market ground coffee to churches with some proceeds benefitting non-profit organizations feeding, sheltering, and helping those in need. Presenters noted “Milagro” is the Spanish word for “miracle”. Their plan would bring quality coffee beans from Columbia and Costa Rica through a third-party vendor, process them in a local facility and eventually distribute to churches, hospitals, and other organizations across the country.

After each presentation, judges and guests peppered presenters with questions. The judges included Chris Moore from the Dodson Agency, Frances Barrera from Western Bank, Kristi Aday with Plainvew Hale County Economic Development Corp., and Mike Hammack, Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Wayland.

A testimony to the success of the NexGen SPARK Entrepreneur Competition was that representatives of Hope House and Lime Lite attended the event Monday night. Hope House was the 2022 winner of the start-up grant with Lime Lite finishing second. Both the mission project for homeless people and the entertainment venue have become successful businesses this year.

The competition is sponsored a grant provided by Plainview-Hale County Economic Development Corp. through the Wayland Baptist University Office of Institutional Advancement.