EAU CLAIRE — A commercial kitchen, clothing store and planned candy store have received awards in the Downtown Jump-Start Business Competition.
Grand Prize went to Forage, Seven Suns Vintage received Honorable Mention, and Ifs and Buts Candy and Nuts won the Innovative Idea honor.
The competition, organized by Downtown Eau Claire Inc., has been expanded to allow businesses that opened in the downtown since last year’s application period to apply in addition to those looking to get started in the next year.
Here are more details about the winners:
• Sole owner Meredith Kervin Blankenheim will continue to offer a commercial kitchen and midsize event space, but she will also be selling products from local artisans. The new Forage space at 403. S Barstow St. is set to open later in October. For more information go to forageeauclaire.com.
For winning the Grand Prize, Forage receives $5,000 in startup capital, $500 advertising credits with Volume One, six-month DECI membership, and a three-month flex membership with CoLab ($330 value).
• Owner Savannah Smith opened Seven Suns Vintage, at 305 S. Barstow St., this June and offers wearable treasures primarily from the ‘60s and following decades. Her goal is to offer an inviting space with a variety of sizes and styles. The shop offers an environmentally conscious sensibility.
For winning Honorable Mention, Seven Suns Vintage receives $2,500 in startup capital, a six-month DECI membership and a three-month flex membership with CoLab ($330 value).
• Owner Greg Clark and his wife, Tammy, noticed that although there are several places to get sweet treats in downtown Eau Claire, there isn’t a traditional candy shop. The business name is an ode to the famous saying that Greg’s grandmother would use, and they aim to keep the family connection going by running it with their kids. They are still securing a location and financing.
For winning the Innovative Idea Prize, Ifs and Buts Candy and Nuts receives $1,000 in startup capital and six-month DECI membership.
Sponsors in this year’s Downtown Jump-Start Business Competition included Royal Credit Union, Associated Bank, Banbury Place, CoLab, JAMF, Market and Johnson, WESTconsin Credit Union, Bauman and Associates, Charter Bank, Cigan Properties, Huebsch Services, Ramone’s Ice Cream Parlor, South Barstow Business Improvement District, Volume One, Xcel Energy, and Ruder Ware.