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Shopping center launches second 'Shark Tank for retailers' competition

Shopping center launches second 'Shark Tank for retailers' competition

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Leslie Magrew

Leslie Magrew of Wentzville pitches her business, Generations Revival, on Sept. 11, 2019, in front of judges in the RetailNEXT competition. Magrew placed first, winning a year's free rent at The Meadows in Lake St. Louis. Photo by Zach Dalin

The Meadows at Lake St. Louis is closed to shoppers at the moment, but it's looking for new retail concepts when it reopens. The shopping center announced Thursday that it's taking applications for its second RetailNext competition, a Shark-Tank-like event in which entrepreneurs compete for free rent, build-out and marketing support.

Applications can be submitted at www.retailnextstl.com and are due May 15. The Meadows said it hopes to host a live competition and announce a winner by late June but the schedule is subject to change, depending on how long social-distancing regulations remain in place to control the coronavirus pandemic.

The prize package is valued at more than $100,000, and the mall expects the winner's store to open by Nov. 1.

Last year's contest was won by Generations Revival, a craft store and do-it-yourself class space run by Leslie Magrew of Wentzville. The Meadows also offered free rent to a finalist, Cozy Shop, a boutique and workshop space founded by Lydia Crespo.

Craig Kaminer, a marketing consultant who organized the RetailNext contest, said both Magrew and Crespo are relying on online sales while The Meadows is closed to customers. Their free-rent period will be extended to account for the period the mall is closed, he added.

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