Incubator enables state growth

What began as a home based business is now a successful, job-creating electrical contracting company.  In 2002, Chris Farris, set up shop in his garage at home but he’s not home anymore.  Today, Farris Electric, LLC is located in an Rural Enterprises I-managed business incubator in Durant.

As the business grew, Farris knew he needed to establish a point of presence in the community while expanding business operations.  His decision to locate into REI’s business incubator in 2007 fulfilled that need while enabling the company to grow.
Incubators are facilities designed to allow start-up or expanding businesses to begin, grow and be nurtured into mature concerns.  As Oklahoma’s leading manager of incubators, REI boasts a diversity of physical spaces and locations for accommodating many types of start-up or expanding businesses.

Business incubators reduce overhead, beginning with a modest rent schedule that is gradually increased over time.  Incubators also offer tax incentives, high-speed internet, marketing through REI’s web site and publications, access to REI’s full line of economic development services and consistent technical assistance as the business continues to grow and expand.  This assistance reduces the risk of failure and helps develop businesses into wealth-generating and job-creating entities.

Farris is a licensed contractor in both Oklahoma and North Texas and also holds a heating and air conditioning license in Texas.  As President & CEO, Farris submits bids, estimates and expedites materials and equipment and oversees all projects.  Currently, the business has a fleet of 5 service vehicles and employs 16.

Farris plans to develop a training program for persons interested in a career as a licensed electrician.  “The person would start as an apprentice, work their way toward journeyman status and ultimately become a licensed electrician,” Farris said.  “I’d like to see this training opportunity expanded to other electrical contracting businesses as well so we could all have a steady source of reliable, skilled electricians with uncompromising integrity, which I believe is a key ingredient of success in any field.”

Realizing that the company was unable to take care of the demanding service needs in the area, Farris opened a new 24-hour call service maintenance division.  By implementing a fully equipped maintenance van and licensed technician, the company will be able to serve the community more efficiently.

Start-up or expanding businesses may apply for business space through REI’s business incubator program.  REI has vacant incubators available in Atoka, Bennington, Coalgate, Durant, Frederick, Warner, Wetumka and Wewoka.  Currently, 14 businesses are operating in REI-managed facilities affecting 209 jobs.

These range in size from 1,120 to 93,500 sq. ft.  Depending on the incubator, amenities include office space, manager’s offices, restrooms, overhead doors, overhead storage, conference rooms, modular work stations, computers, furniture, video conferencing capability, high speed Internet, adequate parking, and security systems.  The largest available incubator is in Wewoka, and boasts 93,500 sq. ft., truck docks, overhead doors, heated/air conditioned, restroom, and ample manufacturing/warehouse space.

For more information about establishing a business incubator or business spaces available through REI’s incubator program, contact Kenneth Norris, program manager at 800-658-2823. Also visit REI’s web site at or visit the Tulsa Office at the memorial Place Center, 7633 East 63rd Street, Suite 300 or phone (918) 459-4515.