One of the Third Ward’s most popular drinking destinations wants to give a leg up to a local business looking to take the next step in its development. The Spot is holding a contest that will award a $50,000 prize to a growing business through a new Community Business Investment Program.
Adfanie Smith Gray, who co-founded The Spot with her husband Aaron in 2006, tells CultureMap that the could has reserved approximately 1,200 square feet in their new shopping center at 2003 Emancipation Ave. for the contest’s winner. The shopping center is also home to The Spot’s recently opened second location, which expands on the original with more seating and an outdoor patio. Already a hit, it’s drawing crowds from the Third Ward, EaDo, downtown, and beyond.
“What we’ve been able to accomplish is reach not only our current demographic but reach out to a whole new demographic that may not have known about the first Spot,” Adfanie Smith Gray says. “We’re getting young professionals that live in that area.”
As for the investment program, Gray says she’s looking for an established business that’s looking to take the next step in its grown. To apply, candidates must meet criteria such having at least $150,000 in annual revenue, one employee, and being in business for two to five years.
“What I’m looking for is something the community wants, like a good juice bar or a sneaker store or professional services such as a tax office,” she says. “I would like that business to operate in the early hours, because the bar operates during the late hours.”
Requirements include submitting a business plan and making a video explaining why the operators see themselves as a fit for the shopping center. A panel will pick 10 finalists who will make Shark Tank-style pitches to a panel of experts.
Gray says the money will go towards building out the empty space into a functional storefront. Publicity from the contest could also inspire in-kind contributions from other firms that are useful to a growing business, such as architectural design and public relations.
The deadline to apply is October 28. A winner will be revealed at The Spot’s grand opening party on November 11.