Downtown Dayton Partnership’s Retail Lab launches for first time

Miami Valley News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Downtown Dayton Partnership (DDP) just launched weekly workshops for a handful of small business owners looking to strengthen their shops with their brand new program, “Retail Lab.”

11 downtown Dayton businesses make up the first cohort and range from everything from retail to a fitness studio:

  • A+ Cleaners
  • Baba Love Organics
  • Connect E-Sports
  • D. Bra Boutique
  • Fox in Socks Soapery
  • Napales Mexican Street Food
  • Now and Zen DIY Studio
  • Picture Perfect Paint Parties
  • Space Three
  • Two Social
  • Vidia’s Closet

The group just wrapped up their first session but the business owners said they can already tell this is going to be an invaluable resource.

Dana Calhoun said her Picture Perfect Paint Parties look a little different these days.

“We have Zoom parties now, we’ll start our patio parties next week, we’re doing social distancing so we can still do parties on the inside, and we’re doing take-home kits,” said Calhoun.

Calhoun owns the paint party shop at 123 N. Ludlow St. in the Talbott Tower.

She and fellow entrepreneur, Lindsey Deck, were two of the 11 businesses chosen from 36 applications.

Deck said this is her first year owning Space Three fitness studio and she is looking to grow.

“I thought it would be a really great opportunity to meet with other small businesses and find out what’s working for them, what’s not working for them,” said Deck. “I think we have a really great group of businesses that I’m looking forward to learning from.”

Both Deck and Calhoun say the DDP has been extremely helpful during the pandemic, this is just the latest resource.

“The marketing and the advertising and trying to find things that are not super costly in order to be able to advertise,” answered Calhoun when asked what she was looking forward to gaining from the Retail Lab program. “I’m sure that it will help grow, and double my business. I’m positive it will.”

A.J. Ferguson with the DDP said this 12-week program aims to do two things: continue energizing downtown with vibrant storefronts and unique restaurants, and provide a supportive pathway into the downtown market for emerging first-floor entrepreneurs.

He said the program had been in the works, but started at the perfect time.

“The program will wrap up right as they’re making their holiday push, and for all of our downtown businesses, we really need that support this holiday season to help them catch up a little bit on the numbers for the year,” said Ferguson.

 The Retail Lab leverages support from many business resource partners including The Entrepreneurs Center, the Miami Valley Small Business Development Center, Five Rivers MetroParks – 2nd Street Market, Launch Dayton, CityWide Development, and The Hub at the Dayton Arcade.

Ferguson said any business owners who are interested in applying for their second Retail Lab workshop session, they can contact the DDP.

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