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Here’s How It Works

  • Tell our seasoned judges your idea for The Next Big Thing in Retail
  • Fill out an entry form and submit your concept (online application below).
  • Upload a video or photo that best illustrates why your idea should be selected for RetailNEXT
  • Meet the judges, ask questions, and learn from their experiences
  • Pitch your big idea to the judges and mentors
  • The Top 5 concepts selected by the judges will pitch their idea in front of a live audience on September 11th (time TBD)
  • The general public will be asked to participate in the Final Competition results, based on TV, social media, and online voting
  • The retail business idea with the most votes will be selected RetailNEXT and win the following prizes (see below)



If you are the winner, The Meadows will provide:

  • Free rent for up to 12 months
  • A build-out allowance
  • Mentoring by high profile judges and mentors
  • Marketing (PR, billboard/signage, social media help, and a grand opening)


Judging Criteria

  • A new concept presented by an existing brick & mortar retailer, online retailer, or start-up
  • An idea with the possibility to be The Next Big Thing in Retail, attracting attention, traffic, and sales to the retail location
  • A concept with a high likelihood of success at The Meadows at Lake Saint Louis
  • Leader/team has relevant experience, entrepreneurial drive, and adequate financial backing to start and sustain a business
  • A sensible plan to staff the location, buy & manage inventory, and manage cash & credit card sales
  • Willingness to do whatever it takes – including bringing on investors – to make their concept grow
  • Concepts need not be traditional retail concepts, but rather ones that will do particularly well in an outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment venue with both on-premise and nearby residential communities


Finalist(s) Must

  • Be able to build out concept adequately beyond Cohen Equities allowance
  • Set up all business systems (phones, web, social, etc.)
  • Have the resources to purchase inventory, staff retail location, buy insurance, etc.
  • Operate the business for 1 year
  • Begin operation no later than April 1, 2020


Submit Your Application

  • Please include a short bio of yourself and 2 community references.