A "Shark Tank"-like competition is coming to Lake St. Louis


LAKE ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — The owners of 'The Meadows at Lake St. Louis" want to find the next big thing in retail through a Shark Tank-type contest called, ''RetailNext' 

Alysia Kerkove, general manager of The Meadows, says malls are forever changing....as is retail.

"Some brick and mortar stores are going online and some online retailers are moving to establish a brick and mortar store. We know that shoppers may go online to search before they come into the mall. We also know consumers are coming to today's mall for an experience. So we want to find the next great idea. Maybe they already have an idea but they can't take it to brick and mortar."

One of the judges is Susan Sherman, co-founder of the St. Louis Fashion Fund. She's looking for an idea that she hasn't thought of yet, adding the winner will find a welcoming region to grow their business.  "If you're in New York, if you're in London or Paris, please don't be afraid to give us a whirl."

Entrepreneurs should submit their concept by August 16th. Finalist will meet with a panel of judges including the founder of Build-a-Bear, Maxine Clark; the chairman of Cohen Equities (which owns The Meadows), Meir Cohen; and Emily Lohse-Busch, the executive director of Arch Grants. Kerkove says judges will be looking for a leader or team with relevant experience, enough financial backing to start and sustain a business and someone who has a plan to manage inventory, staff and sales.

Kerkove says they intend to help the winner grow. "We have a marketing fund that is crazy, so we have billboards, social media and all of that. Sometimes people have an idea and don't know how to move it forward, so let us help you with that. With all these great judges and mentors, there's no reason why they can't be successful."

The winner or winners will be announced in September and will get up to a year rent-free space in The Meadows, mentoring and mall and retail marketing guidance. The retail next winner may also get a possible living space since apartments are being built at The Meadows.

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