I recently sat down with Josh Jones, director of Drury University’s Students in Free Enterprise, for a Q&A that ran in our Sept. 28 education issue.
During our discussion, I also asked about three DSIFE-run projects that I’d followed before but hadn’t heard much about recently: Smal-Mart, a convenience store that was opened on campus in 2001; Avenue 33, a clothing consignment store on South Glenstone Avenue, and the DSIFE incubator, which opened in 2004 at 530 Boonville Ave. and offered services to help fledgling startups grow.
Jones said neither of the retail operations remain up and running, not because the group is opposed to working in the retail sector, but because the volunteer hours required to keep them afloat don’t fit well with students’ schedules, particularly if the site was far-removed from campus. He said, though, that the DSIFE team would be open to embarking on retail ventures in the future, if it can find the right fit.
The incubator’s storefront, adjacent to the Jordan Valley Innovation Center in the former Springfield Mortuary Service Inc. building, is closed. But Jones said DSIFE remains dedicated to offering assistance to local small businesses. Businesses can still tap SIFE for help with startup and growth issues, but without the storefront, which used to offer access to phones, fax, telephones and computers. Jones said the former storefront is now part of the Jordan Valley Innovation Center campus.