The Meadows shopping plaza signage.

Shopping center owner plans ‘Shark Tank’-style competition for new retail concepts

The Meadows shopping plaza signage.The owner of a Lake St. Louis shopping center is looking for a few good retail ideas.

Cohen Equities of New York, owner of The Meadows at Lake St. Louis, is launching a competition called RetailNext to find one or more retail concepts that are ready to open as soon as this holiday season.

The winner or winners will receive free build-out, rent and marketing support at The Meadows, a package valued at $100,000. They’ll also be mentored by the competition’s 12 judges, who include Build-A-Bear Workshop founder Maxine Clark, Norty Cohen of marketing firm Moosylvania and St. Louis Fashion Fund founder Susan Sherman.

Cohen is promoting RetailNext as a competition similar to the “Shark Tank” TV show, with the public invited to vote via social media.

The contest is open to everyone from first-time entrepreneurs to established retailers wanting to test a new concept. Entries can be submitted through The Meadows’ website and are due by Aug. 16.

Organizers plan to feature finalists at a live event Sept. 11 and announce a winner the following week.