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Retail incubator program to launch in Douglas Design District

December 14, 2018

Wichita, Kan. – A $55,300, five-year investment from the Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation will create a short-term, high-visibility retail incubator program. The goal of the program is to accelerate talent retention and offer a low risk, low barrier-to-entry opportunity for entrepreneurship in Wichita.

The Garage at Cleveland Corner, located at 156 N Cleveland Ave, will provide approximately 500 square feet of newly renovated retail space adjoining a high traffic, well-established retail location – The Workroom. The Garage is just one of multiple new businesses Janelle King, owner of the Workroom and organizer behind the initiative, looks to be adding to Cleveland Corner in the coming year.

“The idea behind The Garage is to provide a platform for innovative ideas and businesses in the core,” said King. “The vision is to contribute in a meaningful way to the overall value of downtown by encouraging retail, which makes downtown a more vibrant, sustainable, livable place.”

The incubator program will provide entrepreneurs an opportunity to move through the new business learning curve at an accelerated pace, with a support system and tiered overhead subsidy in place. Upon completion of the program, the new retailer will work with the incubator team to find a permanent brick and mortar location within the Wichita core.

“The Garage at Cleveland Corner is a small, but scalable investment we can make through the Knight Foundation Fund at WCF to enhance opportunities for local talent,” said WCF Director of Strategic Initiatives Courtney Bengtson. “We are eager to see what this initiative does to help advance the entrepreneurial community in Wichita.”

Incentives for potential retailers include:

  • $500 start-up fund
  • Six-month tiered rent/utility subsidy, equal to 30 percent of the first six months overhead expenses
  • Short-term rental contract, equaling 10 months of operable business time
  • Co-promotion and cluster traffic with existing retailer
  • Mentorship with four to six professionals
  • Signage on 1st Street

Selected businesses will be able to move into the space in March, with a grand opening set for Second Saturday on April 13, 2019 in conjunction with The Workroom’s six-year Anniversary Artisan Market.

Applications for interested retailers at The Garage are open now through Jan. 15. Eligible entities include new retail businesses and existing retail businesses looking to expand current facilities by more than 30 percent.

For more information and to apply, visit:

For questions regarding the application, please contact

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