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Cabarrus Center Launches Second Retail Lab Boot Camp

Applications Open to New Retail Entrepreneurs on February 1, 2022

The Cabarrus Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship announced the Spring session of its Retail Lab Boot Camp and is accepting applications starting on Tuesday, February 1, 2022. The Retail Lab was created to address the complexities of starting and operating a retail business.

The Retail Lab serves early-stage 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 the Retail Lab Pop-Up Store for six months.

Applications will be accepted through February 27 at: The Retail Lab Boot Camp will run from March 23 through May 4 on Wednesdays from 6pm-8pm at the Cabarrus Center in downtown Concord, NC.

The program curriculum was refined after receiving survey results from the pilot program launched in Fall 2021 to hone in on the needs of early-stage retailers (brick and mortar or e-commerce) in the areas of retail products, retail services, and retail food and beverage products.

Following completion of the Boot Camp, participants will be given the opportunity to pitch to the Cabarrus Entrepreneurship Council for use of the Retail Lab Pop-Up Store and available grant funding. The Pop-Up Store facilitates learning point-of-sale systems and inventory management, and experimentation with pricing and merchandising.

“The Retail Lab program was an amazing opportunity to receive authentic knowledge from real entrepreneurs. I appreciated the time and opportunity to be in the room with people at various stages in their businesses, who have the goal to succeed no matter what!” said Nicole Hawthorne, Retail Lab Fall Boot Camp Graduate.

The Flywheel Foundation is collaborating with the Small Business Center at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College to structure the curriculum on their self-directed Learning Management System supplementing the instructor-led sessions. The curriculum will cover Business Basics, Business Modeling, Branding & Marketing, E-commerce, Point-of-Sale & Inventory, and Real Estate.

Fall 2021 Retail Lab graduate and grant winner Stephanie Jordan used what she learned in the course and took advantage of the opportunity to test her concept by selling her sweet treats at the Cabarrus Center.

“Being part of the Retail Lab Boot Camp has afforded me the opportunity to enhance the skills which I already possessed and helped strengthen me in those areas that were not so familiar,” said Jordan. “Selling my baked goods and sandwiches at the Cabarrus Center allows me to connect with the community and strengthens me as a business woman as I break ground for my future endeavors.”

Jordan will have her grand opening at the Cabarrus Center in the Social Commons space on February 1 with weekday hours of 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

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.

Learn more about the Retail Lab program on our 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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