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Return of the Battle of the Popups

Starwood Retail Partners extended its search for the retailers of tomorrow, by repeating and expanding last year's highly successful "Battle of the Pop-Up" contest for entrepreneurs. In 2017, budding retailers entered their ideas to win a rent-free space for six months, use of exiting mall or store fixtures and free utilities at three projects. Four entrepreneurs operated stores over the holiday selling period, and three are now negotiating for permanent space! 

This winter, the contest was expanded to 15 projects throughout Starwood’s portfolio, with winners vying for a four-month space, fixtures, utilities and a $500 merchandising package from the center including interior signage, table-printed displays and graphic design services. 

This year's winners include the below. A full list is featured at the bottom of this story. 

  • Stitch N Switch, selling customized replacement nameplates for sports jerseys, from entrepreneur Rebecca Zielinski. Opening at SouthPark Mall, Strongsville, Ohio. 
  • For all Handkind, a local artist collective offering one-of-a-kind handmade goods, with the artists donating 5 percent of sales to a charity of their choice, from entrepreneur Kimberly McKinnis. Opening at MacArthur Center, Norfolk, Va.
  • Peace Eagle Clothing, offering trendy, affordable apparel that is ethically made and sourced from entrepreneur Jennifer Orzel. Opening at Great Northern Mall, North Olmsted, Ohio.

All will operate their stores from Friday, June 1, 2018, through Sunday, September 30, 2018. A second contest will be held later this year for business to operate over the holidays through early 2019. Apply here

"It's genuinely thrilling to see these entrepreneurs become seasoned retailers, and to have them come from the local community is even more important. These are neighbors serving neighbors," said Catherine Loy, Vice President, Specialty Leasing, Pop Up & Permanent Kiosk Leasing. 

Busy shopping mall
H.Flynn, a clothing retailer concept that won space in the previous campaign at Gateway Mall (Lincoln, Neb.), has experienced great foot traffic and sales in its inline space.


A full list of winners from the campaign are as follows.

Belden Village Mall: Compliment Card Co., Mackenzie Gantz

Chicago Ridge Mall: Le' Tresses, Robin Wilson

Fairlane Town Center: Motor City Popcorn, Ronier Golightly

Franklin Park Mall: Guac Shop, Danielle Arbinger

Gateway Mall: Diamond's Bath Gems, Deimante Matz

Great Northern Mall: Peace Eagle Clothing, Jen Orzel

Kitsap Mall: SelfMagic Beauty Care, Dixie Self Garcia, Maureen Bisain Welter

MacArthur Center: For All Handkind, Kimberly McKinnis and Kelsie McNair

Northlake Mall: Happy Kat Candles & Gifts, Kathy Fogle

Northridge Mall: Deb's Calming Creations, Deb Flores

Plaza West Covina: Radiocorchito, Diego Garzon and Paola Pinzon

Solano Town Center: Slime World, Alexandra LaRonge

SouthPark Mall: Stitch N Switch, Becky Zielinski

The Mall at Wellington Green: Cute Now Baby Gear, Frank Bevilaqua and Lyndsey Seacrist

The Shops at Willow Bend: Simba's Bakery, Nikita Hemani