Have you been tossing around an idea for a store?
You might be able to test it out at the central hub of shopping in Northwest Indiana, the Southlake Mall.
The super-regional mall at U.S. 30 and Mississippi Street in Hobart is asking local entrepreneurs to pitch their best ideas for "fresh, fun and innovative retail concepts" for “The Challenge: Battle of the Pop-Up Contest.”
Southlake Mall is accepting ideas through March 30, and will notify contest winners by April 23. The winner or winners will get everything needed to open a turnkey retail business: rent-free space at the mall for four months, use of mall fixtures, free utilities, and a $500 merchandising package that includes interior signage, table-printed displays and graphic design services.
“Supporting local businesses and community ideas is important and vital to the success of our mall as well as the financial health of community overall," Southlake Mall Marketing Director Kristi Jackson said. "We’re delighted with this contest idea as it’s available to both established and budding entrepreneurs who may have new, existing or online concepts to test."
The mall will select winning entries based on how creative the idea is, whether there's a solid business strategy and the likelihood of profitability, among other factors. Entry is free, but anyone who enters must be able to get a business license by June 1, which can be done online at inbiz.in.gov.
The winner would have to be prepared to operate their business during regular mall hours — 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday — from June 1 through Sept. 30.