Booming IT industry in Beloit - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Booming IT industry in Beloit

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BELOIT (WKOW)--  Out with the old in with the new is the theme going on in downtown Beloit. City leaders and developers are working to renovate several buildings in downtown as they work to attract new businesses to the city.

One building in particular, the IronWorks building, is drawing all sorts of attention. It's giving Beloit residents some much needed hope that their long economic nightmare may be coming to an end.

"We sort of have that old and new mix now with our software company being here," AccuLynx owner Richard Spanton Jr. says.

AccuLynx, a software development company that provides businessmanagement software for specialty trade contractors, is bringing it's own unique style to a building in downtown Beloit that's well over a 150 years old.

"My grandfather actually worked in this building for 42 years at the Beloit Corporation," Spanton says. "It has always been a special place for me."

For nearly 150 years, the Beloit Corporation built printmaking machines in the IronWorks building along the Rock River. At its peak the company employed more than 2,000 people, but like many manufacturing companies in Beloit they were forced to close their doors in the early 2000's.

The once empty 750,000 square foot facility is now being used as the starting point for a booming IT industry that is starting to take off.

"We have 30 employees right now. Our target is within five years to have 100 employees," AccuLynx Director of Operations Lynn Foster says.

AccuLynx isn't the only new technology company in town. Several others including Fat Wallet and Comply 365 have found a new home in this industrial setting.

"There's nothing more comfortable for a company to come into. They can talk to a similar company that has done the same thing and ask for them what was the good, what was the bad, what was the ugly," Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Timothy Dutter says.

Not only are Dutter and other chamber officials happy to see a new industry thriving in the city, but they're especially excited because many of the companies bring in money from outside the community. Most industries like retail simply circulate money within a community, but IT companies are known for having customers spread out across the country.

The unemployment rate in Beloit is slowly recovering from it's low point of 17.7% in 2009. According to Department of Workforce Development, the city's unemployment rate is now sitting around 9.6%. It's still the second highest in Wisconsin amongst major cities, but the numbers are definitely showing signs of improvement.

"We want to be a part of the future of this little area here. It's becoming sort of a technology or engineering hub," Spanton says. "I think it's going to be a really good thing for Beloit and I'm hoping to attract other software businesses."

AccuLynx software started five years ago in Rockton Illinois, but owners decided to relocate to Beloit because they needed more space and were given several tax incentives from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.


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