Judges have identified the group of semi-finalists who will proceed to the next step in the 12x12 business competition for prime retail space at reduced rents in Downtown West Palm Beach.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (July 10, 2018) – Twenty-six small business owners are now one step closer to realizing their dream of opening a new business in a striking new storefront on Clematis Street. After evaluating a pool of 50 applicants, the judges have identified the group of semi-finalists who will proceed to the next step in the 12x12 business competition for prime retail space at reduced rents in Downtown West Palm Beach. The business competition is presented by the City of West Palm Beach and West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA).
The 20 businesses in the running for 12 designated retail pods include After 5 Lux; Banda Bags; Born2Dress; Bubbly Boba; Cider Doughnuts; Dega Studios; Dina’s Vegan Deli; Flores del Sol; Good Dog Bakery, Inc.; The Grow; Happiness & Rainbows | Indoor Play Space; Healthy Aquatics Marine Institute; H/OURS COLLECTIVE; Little Red Rocking Chair Bookstore/Publishing Services; Nature's Haircare/Natural Kerr; ODDFELLOWS Interesting Clothing for Interesting Men; Olive Oil of the World; Pique Studios; Pumphouse Coffee Roasters; and You Farm.
An additional six businesses are being considered to have micro pop-up shops along the inside perimeter of the space. Those semi-finalists include The Chocolate Spectrum; Dreamallows; Green Wallscapes; GROW; MANTA Collection; and PACE|space.
All semi-finalists now have approximately eight weeks to develop their business and marketing plans. The competition has partnered with SCORE and West Palm Beach-based creative intelligence firm Pathos to help with the next phase of the competition. SCORE is offering a free workshop at the DDA office on July 18 to provide step-by-step instruction on how to successfully develop a business plan, and each semi-finalist has been paired with a volunteer, expert business mentor from SCORE to provide one-on-one assistance throughout the entire eight-week process. The plans will then be evaluated by a panel of judges and finalists will be named in the fall.
Funded by a grant from the Knight Cities Challenge, the 12x12 project was designed to find a collection of 12 interesting businesses to set up shop in a dynamic new 14,000-sq. ft. shared open space at 314 Clematis Street, to be called The Thoroughfare. The competition winners will receive many benefits, including 12 months of reduced rent, initial marketing and advertising services, professional development training and three large-scale events to promote and drive traffic to the space.
“We are focused on expanding the city’s existing base of small businesses through this initiative,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio. “The new market space will not only help a group of entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground but also create an exciting new, ultra-contemporary commercial hub in a highly visible location on Clematis Street.”
From January 29 to May 14, new and existing small businesses were invited to submit an application along with a 30-second video about their business and the value it will bring to the area. A group of judges including a local small business owner, a financial advisor and the building landlord then scored the entries based on six criteria: purpose, impact, creativity, innovation, inspiration and capacity.
“We looked for innovative and creative business concepts that would complement, rather than compete, with the existing business ecosystem of Clematis Street,” said Raphael Clemente, Executive Director of the West Palm Beach DDA. “There’s a great mix of retailers, food vendors, entertainment and professional services in the running, and we’re looking forward to seeing their business plans.”
Additional funding for the design and construction of The Thoroughfare has been provided by the City of West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency. The CRA contracted Ecosistema Urbano to create an exciting place to connect, work, relax and be part of a new experience, where you can listen to music as you dine or shop in your new favorite boutique. The flexibility of the open plan allows for multiple interactions and the creation of a new dynamic business hub.
“By subdividing the space into smaller square footages and providing business and marketing support along with an initial reduction of rent costs, it allows for the selected businesses to establish themselves under The Thoroughfare market-style space, preparing them for long-term success,” added Chris Roog, Director of Economic Development, City of West Palm Beach.
For more information on the 12x12 program, visit www.12x12wpb.com