CANTON A home-grown company with a knack for innovation and community service is rolling out a new subsidiary.
United Helpers introduced its first for-profit venture, Sparx, a business development and management firm.
The parent organization, United Helpers Management Company, is best known for nonprofit work administering home health, residential, assisted living, rehabilitation and day care services. With Sparx, United Helpers will enter the economic development field.
We think the for-profit company is a more nimble organization, said Stephen E. Knight, United Helpers Chief Executive Officer. Were looking at things other than health care.
Sparx is the companys first non health-oriented enterprise and will focus on getting the north countrys stagnant economy moving, said Mr. Knight.
If you look at the mechanisms for creating jobs, we think we can be a part of it, he said. Weve come to the conclusion that jobs are a social issue, and were determined that were going to be part of the solution.
The new company will operate out of the old Community Bank building at 85-91 Main Street in Canton, said Mr. Knight.
We have things going on in Canton and we want to keep things moving, he said. The building is already under renovation. We want a base for Sparx.
Mr. Knight wouldnt say how much the property cost.
Joining Sparx in the offices will be some services formerly housed at the Cedars Nursing Home in Oswegatchie.
Some countywide offices will move to Canton, he said. It is not defined yet who is coming.
Mr. Knight said a total of 10-15 jobs would move from Oswegatchie to Canton.
One of Sparx first projects is to develop a regional food hub in the Canton area, said Mr. Knight. To that end, Sparx plans to apply for a grant under the New York State Consolidated Funding Application process jointly with North Country Pastured, Northern Grown Food Co-op, Garden Share and Cornell Cooperative Extension.
One of our regions strengths is agriculture, that is why we want to focus on a food hub, he said. The CFA is a huge undertaking, and well talk more about it in the future.
Sparx will focus on fostering collaborations between local businesses and agencies, said Mr. Knight.
Wherever we can partner and collaborate, we should try to, he said. Were looking for new businesses to partner with or to start up with Sparx.
Part of the new companys purpose will be to assist new entrepreneurs with capital and knowledge to build small, local companies.
Sparx will be our vehicle for job creation, he said. Existing small businesses create the lions share of new jobs, and we look forward to partnering with them in that process.