Retail Lab

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.

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

Spring 2023 Updates

The Spring 2023 application has ended. Thank you for applying and spreading the word. Stay tuned for updates on who is participating in the Spring 2023 cohort coming in March.

Important Dates

  • March 14 | Applicants to be notified
  • March 22 – May 3 | Spring 2023 Cohort Schedule (No class on April 5)
  • May 10 | Pitch Night at the Cabarrus Center
  • May 18 | Spring 2023 Graduation

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

Contact Us