Business brains wanted for Main Street Challenge - FOX Carolina 21

Business brains wanted for Main Street Challenge

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One of the store fronts available in downtown Spartanburg for the Main Street Challenge Competition. (Jan. 8, 2013/FOX Carolina) One of the store fronts available in downtown Spartanburg for the Main Street Challenge Competition. (Jan. 8, 2013/FOX Carolina)
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Those who work with the city of Spartanburg want people to compete for the chance to become a business owner.

Several window-shoppers walked along East Main Street Tuesday night, and Kelly Blackwell, the owner of a boutique Two Doors Down, would like to see more.

"I would love to see downtown Spartanburg revitalized," Blackwell said.

She opened the clothing store four years ago, but other shops around her shut down or never opened at all.

"If there's more retail down here then it's going to bring more customers to me," Blackwell said.

There are six vacant spots with pink signs in windows and one of them could be yours if you have a business brain. Patty Brock is the economic development director with the city of Spartanburg and also heads the Main Street Challenge Competition. She said they would like to fill some of the vacant store fronts.

"We're constantly thinking of new innovative ideas to recruit and assist businesses within our downtown," Brock said.

In order to be selected, Brock said applicants should submit an idea for a business for one of the spaces. If the applicants are chosen, he or she will not only win the space but will also get $12,000 to go toward the first year of rent.

"There's a great demand for goods and services whether it's restaurants or service-oriented businesses," Brock said.

Blackwell is part of the selection committee and said the $12,000 will definitely help new business owners.

"For the city to supplement that, I think it's a great thing," Blackwell said.

She hopes the competition will bring more money and business into Spartanburg.

A selection committee will first choose 12 semi-finalists and then those 12 will have to write a more comprehensive business plan. Applicants can receive business plan writing assistance from the Spartanburg Area Small Business Development Center.

Then, the committee will choose three winners, and those winners must commit to a three-year lease. The application deadline is Feb. 8.

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