Retail Lab

Retail businesses are a key part of local economic activity and provides residents with essential community services, cultural activities and access to needed merchandise. At the Cabarrus Center, we are focusing on driving economic development through entrepreneurship by supporting the small business owners who are contributing to a healthy and resilient base of economic activity in Cabarrus and Rowan Counties.

Program Overview

The Retail Lab was established at the Cabarrus Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship through a partnership between the Flywheel Foundation and the Small Business Center at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. The program serves early-stage and pre-launch retail business owners in Cabarrus and Rowan Counties by providing an application-based, six-week immersive Boot Camp, followed by an opportunity for new retailers to test out their concept in the Cabarrus Center’s Retail Lab Pop Up Store for six months.

Retail Lab Boot Camp

The Boot Camp portion of the Retail Lab program consists of an application-based, 6-week immersive boot camp, followed by an opportunity for new retailers to test their concept in the Cabarrus Center’s downtown Concord retail space for 6 months.

Curriculum topics include: Business Basics, Strategy, Branding and Marketing, E-commerce, Point-of-Sale and Inventory, and Real Estate/Licensing.

The ideal Retail Lab participant has a skillset and background that demonstrates their ability to execute their concept or their existing business. They are committed to their idea or business with a clear passion for their project. They must have a unique value proposition of product or service with clarity of market opportunity.

Eligible Boot Camp participants will receive a 3-month Flywheel Membership including space use at the Cabarrus Center, amenities, and member benefits. Participants will also 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.

Fall 2022 Boot Camp Graduates

Congratulations to the fourteen entrepreneurs who recently graduated from the Retail Lab Boot Camp! Five of them went on to receive $2,500 micro-grants from The Flywheel Foundation as well as the opportunity to test out their concepts and sell products in the Retail Lab Pop Up Store in downtown Concord.

  • Be Handmade Soaps [C]*
    Nicole & Bayo Fodeke

  • Crown’d Hair Collection [C]
    Cenderiea Bell

  • Gift Innovations [C]
    Michele Webb

  • Jenuine Scents, LLC [R]
    Jennifer McDonald

  • Kannapolis Creators Studio [C]*
    Matthew Daily

  • Mason’s Mixer [C]*
    Juan Irby

  • Nastalgic Mayne, LLC [C]
    Syte’Nial Harriel

  • Opulence Self-Care Collection [C]
    Nicole Oaties

  • OTTER Reading [M]*
    Meagan Beam

  • Perfect for Candles [M]
    Kristen Wells

  • Scrubbies [R]
    Bobbie Wilson

  • Shay Bird Baby [R]
    Claire Hill

  • The Pyrite Crown [C]
    Jessica Ambra-Puntarich

  • Wise Earth and Iron [R]*
    James Wise

[C] Cabarrus | [R] Rowan | [M] Mecklenburg | * Grant Recipient


“The Retail Lab Boot Camp was a fantastic experience. Before I started, there were so many unanswered questions. I have a much better understanding of how to market my product and grow my revenue streams to both online and retail outlets. The collaboration and insight from industry professionals, as well as my classmates, were extremely valuable.”

— James Wise, Wise Earth and Iron (Fall 2022)

Pop Up Store

Shopping at the Pop Up gives you more than great products; it gives you a chance to explore and support new retail businesses that are launching in your community!

Current Vendors

  • Be Handmade Soaps
  • Creators Studio
  • Grace & Sobrie-Tea
  • Kimo’s Ono Grindz
  • Mason’s Mixer
  • My Green House
  • OTTER Reading
  • Positive Outlook Grooming
  • Serene Re’pose
  • Silvia’s Craft Room
  • Sunshine & Gem Co.
  • Wise Earth and Iron

Program Sponsor

We want to recognize our program sponsor for helping us make the Retail Lab program possible.

Accelerating Local
Economic Development

Find Us

Cabarrus Center
for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

57 Union St. S.
Concord, NC 28025

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