June 28, 2023 | Stories
What do three clothing stores, a romance bookstore and a Mexican coffee shop have in common? These distinctive businesses are part of a new chain of retail incubator spaces.
The Garages incubator initiative started in 2019 by The Workroom Owner Janelle King with support from the Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Foundation and Fidelity Bank. The program provides resources, mentorship and a low-risk space to help entrepreneurs jumpstart and grow their retail ventures.
GROW Giesen Plant Shop and Mini Co. are two tenants who have completed the program and moved on to permanent locations in Wichita. With each success of the Garages, tenant applications have increased dramatically.
“We knew just one location was not enough to capture the upswell of interest and need for a customized, entrepreneur-centric support program,” said King. To continue to support the Garages in their expansion, the program received a loan from the ImpactICT Fund at WF.
“Without the initial investment, continued support and trust of the Knight Foundation and Wichita Foundation, we would not have had the opportunity to get the pilot concept off the ground, seen successful anchor retail tenants emerging from the program, or had the opportunity to expand,” King said.