JOLIET – The Louis Joliet Mall is offering free retail space to the winner of a contest seeking innovative retail concepts.
The winner gets rent-free space for four months as well as a $500 merchandising package.
Starwood Retail piloted “The Challenge: Battle of the Pop-Up Contest” at three malls last year and is bringing it to its other 27 malls, said Sandy Maldonado-Martinez, marketing director for Louis Joliet Mall.
“It’s such a cool way for people who have a crafty side business to get in here and see if the mall is for them,” Maldonado-Martinez said.
Contest entries must be submitted by March 30, and participants must be prepared to obtain a business license so they can open June 1.
Maldonado said one success story of the pilot program last year was a 17-year-old girl who crafted spirit clothing for her friends and turned it into a mall store at Gateway Mall in Lincoln, Nebraska.
She didn’t like the styles that [were] available for school pride shirts and hoodies and hats,” Maldonado-Martinez said. “She made over $100,000 and decided to start her inline store space at the mall.”
The contest winner gets a small kiosk to set up shop. The mall supplies fixtures, utilities and the merchandising package that includes interior signage, table-printed displays and graphic design services.
Maldonado-Martinez said the contest also is a way for Starwood Retail to reach out to entrepreneurs who otherwise might not consider a mall location.
“We want to bring stores to the mall, and we want to bring a diversity and range of stores for our clients,” she said.
There is no cost for entering the contest.
• Applications due March 30
• Winner selected April 23
• Winner must have business license by June 1
• Mall space provided June 1 to Sept. 30 to winner