Ten local business ventures are moving forward as semifinalists in the Downtown Sacramento Partnership’s annual retail competition.
The Calling All Dreamers competition, held yearly since 2013, offers semifinalists a chance at securing a downtown storefront plus a start-up package worth about $100,000, according to a news release issued by the Downtown Sacramento Partnership.
The semifinalists will work with business mentors from SCORE, a regional nonprofit, before being narrowed down to a finalists phase and moving on to public voting in July, according to the release. Public voting is one of the factors considered in selecting a winner but is not the sole determinant, Downtown Sacramento Partnership spokeswoman Emilie Cameron said.
“We’re thrilled with the caliber of applicants this year,” said Valerie Mamone, business development senior manager of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, in a prepared statement. “Some very exciting ideas were submitted. We can’t wait to start working with this group to refine their business plans and bring their (small business dreams) to life.”
Meet the semifinalists below and learn what their start-ups are all about:
Cerealism: Laterica Reddix hopes to open up a cereal bar with breakfast, lunch and dinner options. Patrons can expect popular brand-name cereal plus specialties with custom milk and toppings.
Co-Creations House of Art: Juna-Rae Sterba’s modern art studio concept will offer classes in pottery, painting, glass fusion and clay sculpting, among others.
Custom Bow Ties by Julius: Julius and Marjorie Johnson plan to sell handmade, customizable bow ties of quality and value. Ties would come with styling tips plus a how-to on tying it properly.
iMagic Nails: Patricia Gomez already has a local location, but wants to expand her luxury salon to downtown. The new salon would offer custom nail services, plus her “Patron pedicure,” which is blended with Patron tequila.
Leash and Collar: George and Patty Castillo’s pet store would focus on accessories for dogs such as clothing, dishes, leashes, collars and more. The Castillos also hope to partner with community leaders to help foster dogs for adoption.
Nash & Proper: Cecil L. Rhodes II, born in Sacramento, wants to bring his Nash & Proper food trucks to a downtown location. He offers Nashville-style hot chicken.
Now and Zen Acupuncture and Herbal Spa: Estella Cervantez and Jennifer Johnston want to supply patrons with a variety of traditional remedies, including acupuncture, cupping therapy, coining therapy and herbal foot baths for holistic wellness.
The ClimAxe: Rosendo Rangel and Yasmine Forghani’s ax-throwing concept, described as a sports and entertainment facility, would bring affordable adult recreation downtown. They would also like to be able to host community events at the venue.
The Spottery: Alejandra Magana and Meagan Lewis hope to open up a paint-your-own pottery studio. Patrons of all ages can make anything from cheese platters to dog bowls, and some finished pieces will be available for sale, too.
The Ube Cafe: Raeselle Lao’s cafe will offer contemporary Filipino desserts, featuring Ube, a sweet purple yam.
Since it began, the Calling All Dreamers competition has helped to open 25 businesses, create over 100 jobs and lease more than 26,000 square feet, according to the release.
Of the 25 businesses opened through the contest, 19 are still in operation and 16 operate out of storefronts, Cameron said, and all six of the contest’s previous winners are still in business, but one, Ana Apple, only does online business now.
You can hear from the entrepreneurs behind these concepts here.