Gaffney business generator looking for new funding

B-Gen founders say their federal funding runs out May 31st, while many small business owners are encouraging the community to invest in the Gaffney incubator.
Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 2:22 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GAFFNEY, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Brittany Bivins is the co-owner of what is soon to be the first of its kind in downtown Gaffney: Peach City Brewery.

“We picked Gaffney because there’s not another brewery within 20 square miles of here,” she told FOX Carolina.

“We kind of wanted to do the small-town local hangout kind of thing, but also throw some pizza, good music, and fun times in as well,” she added.

She says moving down from Charlotte, she didn’t realize that renovating her own space would take so much hard work, but says thankfully, her sanity was saved by the building right across the street.

“They opened their arms wide to us, and were like ‘if you need office space, if you want to come over and do your stuff here that’s fine,’” Bivins said, talking of course about the Gaffney Business Generator, or B-Gen.

“The ultimate goal is to have businesses launch from here and into spaces either downtown or within Cherokee County,” explained B-Gen co-founder Brian Ziegelheafer, who has been with the generator since it opened 5 years ago.

“By removing those overhead costs, we were able to help more businesses be successful,” he added.

Ziegelheafer says back when they came up with the concept for an incubator, there was skepticism that it could work in a small town like Gaffney, but 5 years and several success stories later, he says they’re proving it works.

However--their federal funding runs out in late May.

“As of June 1st, we will be funded through the generous donations and partnerships of No2 in Cherokee County,” he said.

No2 is an educational nonprofit in Cherokee County. Ziegelheafer says they’re happy to be taken under that wing, but are still looking for more to recoup what they’ll be losing.

B-Gen currently houses 10 small businesses, has recently doubled in size, and is offering classes to business owners who are starting out to help them navigate the terrain and succeed.

“We help walk them through that process, as well as lining them up with key people in the community that can help them,” Ziegelheafer said.

Business owners like Bivins says the importance of something like B-Gen can’t be overstated. She says she’s happy to be a part of it, and hopes that people in the community appreciate and contribute to its mission in the near future.

“It’s an opportunity like...I grew up outside Charlotte and there’s nothing that compares,” she said. “We plan to give back to them thoroughly as soon as we have beer flowing!”

“Our downtowns have always thrived on what I would consider smaller, mom and pop style businesses,” Ziegelheafer concluded. “Without them, we’d be dominated by corporate, big, department store-style places.”