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The Meadows at Lake St. Louis to host ‘Shark Tank’ contest

The Meadows at Lake St. Louis is running a sequel to its 2019 RetailNext contest.

Cohen Equities, the retail center’s owner, and career marketing entrepreneur Craig Kaminer announced this month that they again are seeking “the next big thing in retail.”  The winner will receive free rent, a build-out allowance, marketing support and coaching from leading experts.

The competition is similar to the hit TV show “Shark Tank” but focuses on attracting new ideas in retail and transforming the retail landscape.

Graphic from Cohen Equities press release

Entries will be accepted through midnight on June 15.  Contest details and entry forms are available at retailnextstl.com.

According to the contest press release, once an entry is received by RetailNextSTL, it will be reviewed by judges and mentors. If the idea is selected, the contestant will be assigned a mentor to fine tune the concept, strengthen the business plan and prep for a live presentation that will take place this summer.

The top five concepts will be voted on by the general public and the winner will be announced in late June. The winner’s retail location will open at The Meadowson, or before, Nov. 1. 

“There are thousands of people not working and planning what they will do when things get back to normal,” Alysia Kerkove, The Meadows general manager, said. “We hope that RetailNEXTSTL 2020 will be an opportunity for them to think about the better times to come and make their entrepreneurial dream come true at the same time.”

Last year’s winner, Leslie Magrew, founder and star “maker” at Generations Revival, and finalist, Lydia Crespo, founder and designer at Cozy Shop by Argaman&Defiance, both opened retail locations at The Meadows at Lake St. Louis prior to the holiday season in 2019. Now, both are up and running, offering DIY workshops, craft clubs, retailing their own designs and representing more than 20 other St. Louis makers.

The prize of free rent, build-out, mentoring and marketing is valued at more than $100,000. However, Magrew said the contest offered her other, equally valuable assets.

“More than the money, this opportunity has inspired me to try new things, offer new classes, expand online, get involved more in the community and introduced me to successful retail entrepreneurs. While everything has not gone exactly as I had expected, the learning has been invaluable.”

Last year, more than 40 retail entrepreneurs competed for the chance to win the RetailNextSTL competition. Not only did Magrew win over the judges, she also generated over 10,000 votes on social media.

Confirmed judges include:

  • Khalia Collier, owner/GM, St. Louis Surge women’s professional basketball
  • Meir Cohen, chairman/CEO, Cohen Equities
  • Norty Cohen, CEO/Founder, Moosylvania
  • Ellen Mannion, vice president, commercial brokerage, Balke Brown Associates
  • Drea Ranek, owner/founder, Lusso – Luey – 2LU
  • Kathy Schweikert, mayor, Lake Saint Louis
  • Susan Sherman, founder, St. Louis Fashion Fund and MERCH
  • Martin Sneider, retail professor, Washington University
  • Stacy Taubman, founder/CEO, RISE Collaborative Workspace
  • Toby Warticovschi, partner, Millstone Capital Advisors
  • Mark Zorensky, president, Hycel Properties Co.

Confirmed mentors include:

  • David Drier, executive director, Pedal the Cause
  • Mark Hollander, executive director, Vision St. Charles County Leadership
  • Angel Magasano, founder/executive director, Little Black Book: Women In Business
  • Sue McCarthy, founder/CEO, Vault Luxury Resale
  • Adam Novik, entrepreneur/owner, Tailored Auto
  • John Omaresemi, St. Charles County Center for Advanced Professional Studies
  • Dan Tripp, St. Charles County Center for Advanced Professional Studies
  • Toby Warticovschi, partner, Millstone Capital Advisors

Specifically, judges will be looking for:

A new concept presented by an existing brick and mortar retailer, online retailer or start-up.

An idea with the possibility to be the next big thing in retail and attract attention, traffic and sales to the retail location.

A concept with a high likelihood of success at The Meadows at Lake St. Louis.

A leader/team that has relevant experience, entrepreneurial drive and adequate financial backing to start and sustain a business.

A sensible plan to staff the location, buy and manage inventory and manage cash and credit card sales.

Willingness to do whatever it takes, including bringing on investors, to make the business concept grow.

Concepts need not be traditional retail, but rather ones that will do particularly well in an outdoor shopping, dining, entertainment venue with both on-premise and nearby residential communities.

To learn more, visit retailnextstl.com.

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