Nearly 60 entrepreneurs are competing in the Main Street Challenge to be the three finalists to open their business in downtown Spartanburg. (Photo/File)
By Liz Segrist
Published Feb. 19, 2013
Applicants — hailing from Knoxville, Tenn., Asheville, Charleston, Spartanburg and throughout the Upstate — have submitted their competition entries to secure space and open their business in downtown Spartanburg.
Available locations for winners
*Note: 167 and 169 East Main can be combined into one store or leased separately.
SOURCE: The city of Spartanburg Economic Development Department
Fifty-eight entries had been submitted for the city’s business competition, Main Street Challenge, by the Feb. 8 deadline. The selection committee, which is made up of local educators, bankers, entrepreneurs and business owners, will narrow those down to 12 semifinalists by Feb. 26, and then to six semifinalists.
Three winners will be announced by May 26.
The submissions are mostly retail. They include shoe stores, bakeries, gift stores, design and craft stores, music-oriented venues, beverage-only venues, candy shops, nonprofits and some service-oriented businesses, among others.
The city launched its inaugural business competition in January.
The city will provide the winners with $1,000 each month for the first 12 months as rent assistance for their new downtown location, which has been pre-identified by the city and property owner.
By helping three entrepreneurs open new businesses this year, the competition aims to fill vacant storefronts and continue on recent momentum in the city’s central district.
“We have been pleased with the response,” city of Spartanburg Economic Development Director Patty Bock said. “It’s refreshing to read about their ideas, their interests, what they like about Spartanburg and why they want to open their business downtown.”
Semifinalists must submit a full business plan. They will receive assistance with their submissions from the city.
Semifinalists could be eligible for the spaces based on a variety of factors, such as eligibility, rents and needs. Rents for these stores range from $7.76 per square foot to $14.26 per square foot, plus taxes and insurance.
Graphics have been placed on all of the store’s windows to generate interest and designate them as competition spaces. After the competition, the tenant and landlord upfits begin before the move-in.
“We will have many takeaways once this is over that will benefit how and what we need to do, as well as what we can do to make our downtown better,” Bock said. “It puts us in touch with so many business owners that want to be doing business in Spartanburg. I’m certain the competition will bring more than three viable businesses to Spartanburg.”