Written by Edward Smith
The finalists are in for the Downtown Fresno Partnership’s Create Here Business Plan Competition.
What began with 12 applicants has been whittled down to nine eateries, retailers, fashionistas and watering holes in the competition pitting business plan against business plan. The winners will be announced in September.
The organization worked with sponsors to offer cash and prizes. First place gets $10,000, second place gets $5,000 and third place $2,500. Sponsors offered donated services ranging from television commercials with KSEE24 and CBS47 to web campaigns to a one-year free business account with Central Valley Community Bank to one-year free membership with the Fresno Chamber of Commerce and more.
The process for the Partnership’s second Create Here competition began with a survey on their website asking for entrepreneurs to submit their proposals. Of those, only 12 businesses went through the process of paying the submission fees, creating a video and submitting a business plan, said Daniel Griffith, program manager with Downtown Fresno Partnership. For applicants not familiar with what it takes to create a business plan, Central Valley SCORE — the local non-profit organization offering mentorship and workshops for business owners — helped develop a business plan for free.
The emphasis this year was for businesses that add to the nighttime economy. Contestants who could find ways to connect visitors to the area with businesses and events after hours were given preference, but not a guarantee.
Participants from the first Create Here Competition still in operation include Hop PK, Root General and Raw Fresno. Hop PK won the grand prize in 2015.
The finalists are:
—Downtown Deli & Market – A local deli and market that will target the lunch crowd with hot and cold sandwiches, along with other side dishes. This business will provide a new take out/dine in deli establishment downtown. Business owner Leon Alchian of Majestic Jewelry & Loan Co. is behind the concept currently under construction at 2621 Fresno St. across from City Hall.
— DressHer – A store that will carry organic/recycled clothing, focusing on women and mothers. DressHer will give women the idea of a walk-in dresser when they visit, connecting all women and mothers.
— Havana Cafe – Havana Cafe will be the first ever Cuban cafe in Fresno. Havana Cafe will provide high quality Cuban espresso, sandwiches, dishes, pastries and soft drinks.
— MAS Fresno – Mas Fresno will be a retail attraction and design center that will be new to Fresno and new to fashion. MAS Fresno will provide custom high-end quality garments, as well as a maker-space for people looking to create, grow and sell their own clothing brand.
— McQueens End of the Line – McQueens End of the Line will be a bar/speakeasy/outdoor event venue in a 100 year old house in Downtown Fresno. The business will serve an eclectic mix of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and will regularly host live music shows and parties.
— Meltdown Bistro – Meltdown Bistro started as a food truck in 2015 and is looking to expand to a brick and mortar location. Meltdown Bistro serves America fusion food with sandwich melts.
— Modernist – Modernist Mixology LLC (“Modernist”) is a proprietor of craft cocktail bars envisioned to bring people together in Downtown Fresno. Modernist will bring craft cocktails to Fulton Street in Downtown Fresno to add to an already thriving Brewery District. Construction is underway and co-owners Carmen Serrato and Po Tsai anticipate a fall opening.
— The Bad Apple – The Bad Apple primarily wants to serve hard cider, as well as low-mid range priced wine to customers. The products would ideally be from cider and wine companies from the Central Valley.
— Cafe Alchemy – Café Alchemy is a coffee house and social enterprise that brings together an immersive, cultural, and educational coffee experience. With keeping intentionality at the core of the business, the physical space will be designed for learning and the staff will be required to undergo rigorous and comprehensive training on the quality and origin of the coffee. The location at 1250 Fulton St. has hosted pop-ups but is not yet open for day-to-day operations.