Four Potential Retailers for Downtown Muskegon to Pitch in the 321 Go! Competition

MUSKEGON, MI – The 321 Go! retail pitch competition will feature four budding business owners looking to begin a retail business in Downtown Muskegon’s Midtown business district for the summer of 2017.

A unique “pitch competition” will establish a new Downtown Muskegon retailer in the summer of 2017, continuing the momentum of downtown redevelopment.

321 Go! is a collaboration of Downtown Muskegon Now, the Muskegon Innovation Hub at Grand Valley State University and the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce to give downtown redevelopment a boost, help establish a new downtown retail outlet and at the same time support the resurgence of Midtown.

The competition comes with a winning basket of business services valued at more than $15,000 and six months free rent in Midtown. The competition partners have selected the four finalists from nearly a dozen applicants for the “pitch” event Thursday, April 13 at the GVSU Muskegon Innovation Hub that also will be a chamber Business After Hours from 5-7 p.m. The competition begins at 5:30 p.m.

The 3,2,1 Go! finalists are:

  • Simply Vintage Design, Sheeka Hawkins owner. The creator of affordable jewelry where every piece will be personally designed and handmade, offering quality over quantity.
  • East of Eden Wellness Spa, Jodi McClain owner. This destination wellness business will offer floatation and dry salt therapy along with message.
  • The Occidental Barbershop, Emily Prow owner. An all-in-one men’s grooming center in a retro, vintage and eclectic environment that will provide both services and products.
  • SkeeTown Nutrition, Shuan Hladki and Rebecca Holtz owners. This nutrition club and shake bar will offer a space for the community to gather for a healthy meal and personalized coaching.

The winning retail business selected by a panel of business experts will need to be ready to open in Midtown in June 2017 and be able to operate at least 18 months, hopefully much longer. Muskegon businessman, entrepreneur of the year and county commissioner Bob Scolnik will emcee the event.

The winning package of business support includes six months free rent at 1144 Third Street in the former Mattson Oldsmobile dealership showroom and office. The rental location is graciously being offered by Brad Martell – a Grand Rapids entrepreneur, property developer and businessman – who purchased the former dealership in 2016 with plans already underway on redeveloping the property.

“Brad has stepped up to support renewed retailing in Downtown Muskegon as part of the rejuvenation of the Third Street Business District now called Midtown,” said Dave Alexander, executive director of Downtown Muskegon Now.

The winning retailer will need to negotiate a one-year lease with the building owner for after the six months free rent. The winning prize package also includes legal, accounting, marketing, architectural and design services. DMN, GVSU and the chamber will also promote the winning business and mentor its owner.

“There is a host of business support services the winner will be able to access through our sponsors and the Muskegon Innovation Hub,” said Kevin Ricco, executive director of the GVSU business hub on the downtown Muskegon Lake shoreline.