Business & Real Estate

Finalists vying for downtown Sacramento storefront emerge as contest goes to voting

Five finalists have been selected to move forward in the final round of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership’s annual retail contest.

Calling All Dreamers, which opened earlier this year, gives businesses a shot at opening up a storefront in the heart of downtown plus a package worth close to $100,000 to help the winner get started.

The competition field has been narrowed from 10 semifinalists to five finalists, who now face a round of public voting, according to a Downtown Sacramento Partnership news release.

“The five finalists moving forward showed creativity, relevance and the ability to adapt their unique idea into a storefront in downtown Sacramento,” said Valerie Mamone, Downtown Sacramento Partnership business development senior manager, in a prepared statement. “We’re eager to see how they further develop their plans and the public reception as voting gets underway.”

Laterica Reddix’s Cerealism, one of the businesses moving on to the contest’s final round, is a breakfast, lunch and dinner cereal bar concept with customization options.

“Cerealism is a crafted cereal bar that will bring a modern yet nostalgic feel to downtown Sacramento,” Reddix said in a video uploaded on the Downtown Sacramento Partnership’s website. “Whether it be one of our custom blends, or your very own creation, we have something just for you.”

Juna-Rae Sterba’s Co-Creations House of Art is an all-inclusive art studio concept meant to bring a variety of arts courses and programs to downtown.

“Our goal is to inspire our community to join us in creativity,” Sterba said in a Downtown Sacramento Partnership video. “We offer glass painting, canvas painting and glass fusion. In addition, we have metal art classes and photography classes offered by local artists — that’s just the start.”

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Leash and Collar, run by George and Patty Castillo, aims to sell dog attire and accessories and hopes to partner with community organizations to help find homes for foster dogs.

In a Downtown Sacramento Partnership video, Patty Castillo said Leash and Collar currently operates as a roving pop-up shop that makes appearances at local events.

“Our customers love that not only can they find some fun and unique accessories for their dogs, but also for themselves,” Patty Castillo said in the video. “We strive to offer handmade items, either made by myself or sourced from other makers around the country.”

Sacramento native Cecil L. Rhodes II co-owns Nash & Proper, which specializes in Nashville-style hot chicken. Nash & Proper currently serves fried chicken out of food trucks in Sacramento.

“What makes Nash & Proper different is we’re the first Nashville-style hot chicken in Sacramento,” Rhodes said in a Downtown Sacramento Partnership video. “Nobody else has focused 100% on Nashville hot chicken, but at the same time, we are a California-based business, so we’re using jalapeños, we’re using habanero.”

Lastly, Meagan Lewis’ pottery painting studio The Spottery wants to offer a space for children, adults and groups to design their own keepsake pieces, sourced from locally made ceramics.

“Imagine a space right here in Sacramento that invites people to tap into their creative side, connect with a friend and take away a piece of the city that they’ll cherish for years to come,” Lewis said in a Downtown Sacramento Partnership video.

Of these five finalists, a winner will be selected in part through a public voting process. Anyone who wants to take part can cast their ballots online here.

The winner’s prize consists of up to $10,000 in matching funds plus a service package including financial planning, storefront design, marketing, graphic design, legal assistance and accounting.

Of the 25 businesses opened through the Calling All Dreamers contest since it began in 2013, 19 are still in operation and 16 operate out of storefronts. Six of the contest’s previous winners are still in business, but one only does online business now.

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Vincent Moleski covers business and breaking news for The Bee and is a graduate student in literature at Sacramento State. He was born and raised in Sacramento and previously wrote for the university’s student newspaper, the State Hornet.