When Sara McClean Riddle '05 heard her name called out as a winner, she jumped up and hugged her loved ones, including her 9-month-old son. She was one of three winners in the city of Spartanburg's inaugural Main Street Challenge.The three small businesses received $12,000 in rent monies and storefront space in downtown Spartanburg Wednesday night as part of the city competition.
"Residents are spending their money in other cities or online. We want this money to go back to Spartanburg."
The competition's selection committee, made of local business people and educators, announced the Local Hiker, Motte & Sons and Haute Mama as the winners.
Riddle will open Haute Mama, a retail store and educational resource for mothers, particularly for expectant and new mothers. It will sell maternity clothes, including professional ones, as well as offer educational courses and exercise classes.
"There isn't a store for expecting mothers in Spartanburg," Riddle said. "Residents are spending their money in other cities or online. We want this money to go back to Spartanburg. This offers a resource that women can't find online or in big-box chains. This lets women know that they aren't alone."
The winners were among the nearly 60 entrants to partake in the new competition, which launched in January. The competition's selection committee narrowed these applicants throughout the spring down to seven finalists. Each finalist team had five minutes to pitch their business concept to roughly 270 attendees Wednesday at the Hub-Bub Showroom in downtown Spartanburg.
Finalists had to submit a business plan. The selection committee considered business sustainability, financial backing and fit within the available spaces. Tenant and landlord upfits will begin soon, according to the city.
"We decided to think out of the box," said Patty Bock, the city of Spartanburg's economic development director who spearheaded much of the competition. "We want to fill empty storefronts with retail businesses, generate more sales revenue downtown and create more consumer traffic."
Read more on the GSA Business website. Story and photo by Liz Segrist of GSA Business