The Smart Business Center helps small business

Posted: Tuesday, July 26, 2016 9:00 pm  |  Kora Chrzan | Branson Tri-Lakes News

Starting and running a small business can be daunting, and finding a professional and affordable space can be a challenge.

But Commercial One Brokers, LLC, in partnership with Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Taney County Partnership, have created the Smart Business Center to help small businesses jump-start into success by offering a space for business to grow.

Steve Critchfield, broker/partner of Commercial 1 Brokers, LLC, said the Smart Business Center is for businesses wanting to take the next step into a professional office space centered around small-business growth with low-commitment leases.

The Smart Business Center, located at the Shoppes at Branson Meadows where Ozarks Technical Community College used to be, is “designed to meet tenants’ immediate needs and still provide ample space for growth and in-place expansion,” according to the Smart Business Center website.

Critchfield said the 16,000-square-foot space OTC left behind contains offices, classrooms and conference rooms well-suited for individual office space for small businesses.

The various sizes of office spaces are priced at market rate, Critchfield said. Monthly rent starts at $375 per month and includes high-speed internet, access to meeting rooms and a seminar room and electronic twenty-four-hour access to the building.

The Smart Business Center offers more than office space, though. According to the website, tenants can take advantage of one-on-one business counseling, networking and collaboration opportunities and have full support of the Taney County Partnership and The Missouri Extension Service to help connect with companies and individuals that can provide services needed to help grow the business.

Sherri Harris, attorney at law and a tenant at the Smart Business Center, said she saves several hundred dollars a month by renting at the center, and she says she likes the location because it is easily-accessible. Harris said she is not necessarily a new business, but the Smart Business Center is ideal for her private law firm.

Harris said the Smart Business Center is truly a community of businesses helping each other grow. Harris said another tenant in the building has a computer service business and helps tenants with computer problems in the building.

Harris said she always thought Branson needed a place like the Smart Business Center and she is glad Commercial 1 Brokers, LLC, made it happen.

“I think people here are not used to this concept,” Harris said, “and so it’s a new concept but these people that have an office in their home and have clients coming to their office, my suggestions to consider this because it’s now affordable to do it another way.”

Critchfield said he and his business partner, Bob Huels, started the Smart Business Center as a way to invest in and help the small businesses of the community.

Critchfield said the ideal plan is for small business, maybe running out of a home or garage, to come to the Smart Business Center, “set up shop” for a time, then grow.

Once the business grows, Critchfield said Commercial 1 Brokers, LLC, could be the real estate company assisting the business in finding a new space.

Premier Landscapes is another Tenant in the Smart Business Center, and it is a testament to the center’s goal for business growth. Blane Gunter, maintenance-division operator of Premier Landscapes, said the Smart Business Center has helped Premier Landscapes take the next step from working out of the owner’s home and into a professional office. And now, Premier Landscapes is in the process of building a new office for their expanded business.

Critchfield said Commercial 1 Brokers is not necessarily looking to make a profit from the Smart Business Center, but Commercial 1 Brokers, LLC, is looking at the long-term benefits business growth can have for the company as well as the community.

For more information about the Smart Business Center, visit