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Fall 2023 Retail Lab Graduates 9 Local Entrepreneurs

Nine local entrepreneurs celebrated their completion of the Fall 2023 Retail Lab Boot Camp—a program tailored to address the complex nature of starting and operating a retail establishment. The graduates of Retail Lab completed an application-based, six-week immersive boot camp, which concluded with the opportunity to pitch for grant funding.

This cohort featured regional ventures, including a wine shop, innovative clothing brands, an international gift shop, and delicious food items. All participants in the program shared a common interest in supporting local entrepreneurship. Melissa Allen, who participated in the program with her husband, had this to say about the program, “Going through this experience has been incredible. While the financial impact for Barley Jean’s Taphouse and Bakery will be amazing, the gains we have made emotionally are even more of a boost for us.”

The program is made possible through funding from Wells Fargo and requires collaboration between the Flywheel Foundation and the Small Business Center at Rowan Cabarrus Community College. Local business owners develop the curriculum and cover the fundamentals of business strategy, branding, marketing, e-commerce, point-of-sale, and inventory management. Boot Camp graduates receive a 3-month Flywheel Membership, including space use at the Cabarrus Center, amenities, and member benefits. Additionally, graduates will receive ongoing support from Entrepreneurial Support Organizations at the Cabarrus Center.

Applications for the next cohort will open early next year; please get in touch with Grant Colgan with any questions regarding the program.

Fall 2023 Retail Lab Graduates

  • Sekayi’s Essentials | Tuere Perkins (Cabarrus)
  • Abhivyakti Gift Shop | Medha Shenoy (Cabarrus)*
  • Evolve Natural Skincare & Handcrafted Soap | Jill Sullivan-Keating (Lincoln)
  • Family Catering Service | Shane Nelson (Mecklenburg)*
  • Teas & Tinctures Holistic Wellness Shop | Kandra Johnson (Cabarrus)*
  • Costera | Julia Burr (Cabarrus)
  • Cellar Door Wine Shop | Andrew and Robin Angell (Cabarrus)*
  • Hapi Hood | Jonathan Murray (Cabarrus)*
  • Barley Jean’s Taphouse and Bakery | Mark and Melissa Allen (Cabarrus)*

*Indicates venture received micro-grant through the Retail Lab Program of the Flywheel Foundation*

Learn more about the Retail Lab program on the Cabarrus Center’s website at

About the Cabarrus Center:
Located in the heart of downtown Concord, the Cabarrus Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation offers professional workspaces, meeting rooms, event space, educational workshops, networking events, business resources, mentorship services, and a host of amenities to support entrepreneurs launching or growing their businesses.

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