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The Cabarrus Center Launches Retail Lab Program

Applications now open to existing and future retail business owners

CONCORD, NC, August 2021 – The Cabarrus Center is now accepting applications for the Retail Lab—a brand new program created to address the complexities and sometimes daunting nature of starting and operating a retail establishment.

The Retail Lab will serve existing or prospective retail business owners in Cabarrus and Rowan counties. It is an application-based, six-week immersive boot camp, followed by an opportunity for new retailers to test their concept in a pop-up retail space for six months.

The boot camp will run from October 6 through November 10 on Wednesdays from 6pm-8pm at the Cabarrus Center in downtown Concord. Applications are open now and will be accepted through September 24.

Following completion of the Boot Camp, participants will be given the opportunity to pitch to the Cabarrus Entrepreneurship Council for use of local pop-up retail spaces and available grant funding. The Cabarrus Center is seeking additional building owners in Cabarrus and Rowan counties that are willing to host a temporary retail pop-up in their space.

The program curriculum was designed by Meg Smit, Director of the Small Business Center at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, following a survey of existing retailers in the county. “It was clear after reviewing survey results that this program needed to combine foundational business basics with practical day-to-day application. We hope to do just that and will continue to listen to participants going forward to ensure we hit that target,” said Smit.

The Flywheel Foundation is collaborating with the Small Business Center to structure the curriculum on their self-directed Learning Management System supplementing the instructor-led sessions. The curriculum and will cover topics such as business basics, strategy, branding and marketing, e-commerce, point-of-sale and inventory.

Susan McRae, local owner of Sweetest Beginnings and Retail Lab survey participant, said of the program, “I think it is amazing to offer the retail lab for anyone that is interested in beginning a small business. There are so many odds and ends that are behind the scenes, that I think it is imperative to have tools to help create a successful business.”

Eligible Boot Camp participants will receive a 3 month Flywheel Membership including space use at the Cabarrus Center, amenities, and member benefits. Additionally, participants will receive ongoing support from the Entrepreneurial Organizations at the Cabarrus Center. Minority and Women Business Enterprises have the opportunity to secure grant funding through the program.

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 workspace, meeting rooms, event space, educational workshops, networking events, business resources, mentorship services, and a host of amenities to support entrepreneurs who are launching or growing their businesses.

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