Main Street Challenge

It’s Back!

Spartanburg's Main Street Challenge 2014 will once again reward three new downtown Spartanburg businesses with lease assistance and other help.

The City of Spartanburg is once again inviting you to submit your business idea for an opportunity to WIN STOREFRONT SPACE and THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS of in-kind support from the local business community. We don’t just want your idea, we want to help you fulfill the idea by offering the upfront resources and support to turn your idea into a well-executed plan. If you win, you’ll soon open your doors in downtown Spartanburg, while your neighboring businesses and the people of Spartanburg will welcome you and help you succeed. 

About the Program

The Main Street Challenge matches winning businesses with participating downtown property owners. Each winner receives $12,000 in funds from the City to be used for rental assistance for their first year of operations, along with approximately $8,000 in in-kind support and services from local businesses and sponsors. Plus, you get loyal customers and supportive downtown neighboring businesses that want to see you succeed. In return, each winning business signs a three-year lease with a property owner and must open for business in downtown Spartanburg no later than Nov. 1, 2014, in time for the holiday retail season. 

What’s New in the 2014 Main Street Challenge?

It’s not just on Main Street anymore! Due to requests from downtown property owners, we’ve expanded the program to more locations on Broad, Church, Dunbar and Main streets. So far, 12 storefronts ranging in size from 1,100 square feet to 10,000 square feet are in the contest.

Who Can Enter?

  • The contest is open to all legal U.S. residents, 18 years of age or older at the time of submittal of contest entry application.
  • Proposed business can be independent or franchise.
  • Are you a current business owner? If so, the application must be with the intent to introduce, open and operate a concept which will offer a new element not promoted in the existing location, or expand upon and highlight an element that would be removed from the existing location.
  • The applicant must be willing, and demonstrate the financial ability, to commit to a minimum 3-year lease in one of several pre-qualified locations in downtown Spartanburg.

Have an Idea? Get Started and Submit it Now! 

  • Download the Main Street Challenge Application Form, fill it out and submit. Be sure to answer as thoroughly as possible, including the narrative describing your business concept, and why it would enhance and contribute to the economic welfare of Downtown Spartanburg. For complete rules and instructions, review the MSC Participant Overview.
  • Application must be received no later than the end of business on Friday, Feb. 7. Applications and attachments received past that deadline will not be considered for the Main Street Challenge.
  • All entrants at any time can obtain business plan writing assistance from independent third parties, the Spartanburg Area  Small Business Development Center, SCORE (Service Core of Retired Executives), the Women’s Business Center or other third parties.
  • The Selection Committee can choose up to 12 applicants as semifinalists. The City of Spartanburg Economic Development Department will work with any entrants to further develop their idea and provide resources to continue outside the contest.
  • Semifinalists must submit business plans and supporting documents to the City of Spartanburg no later than the end of business on Friday, April 19. Necessary documents and attachments received past that deadline will not continue in the competition.
  • Finalists will appear before the Selection Committee to present their respective business concepts and plans, to demonstrate via product or electronic media how the business might be fixtured, displayed, marketed, etc. Finalists must be prepared to answer questions from committee members and to demonstrate product and business acumen as well as to discuss financial planning for the purpose of sustaining a minimum three-year commitment to lease.
  • The top candidates will present a 5-10 minute pitch about their businesses at a public event. The Main Street Challenge winners will be announced at this event in late May.

What if you win?

  • You will be obligated to execute a minimum three-year lease for a street level retail/service/office location at one of the pre-determined locations in Downtown Spartanburg.
  • You must open your business to the general public no later than Nov. 1, 2014.
  • You must operate during all normal/customary business hours for the duration of the lease. 

Got an Idea? Submit it now! Click on the Application Form and Participant Overview for full details, including rules, regulations, resource assistance and in-kind sponsors.


Who To Know

Important Documents

MSC 2014 Application MSC Application 

Main Street Challenge Participant Overview includes all rules and regulations for Spartanburg's Main Street Challenge. MSC Participant Overview

Important Dates

Jan. 6: Application available online

Feb. 7: Deadline to submit application

April 18: Deadline for semifinalists to submit business plans

Late May (exact date TBA): The Main Event (public pitch event for finalists; winners announced)

Nov. 1: Deadline for winning businesses to open to public

Spartanburg Area Links