Downtown Dayton Retail Lab now accepting applications

Mike Colvin DDP Press Releases

Downtown Dayton Retail Lab now accepting applications

The Retail Lab program supports the creation and growth of first-floor businesses in downtown Dayton.

July 15, 2021 (DAYTON, Ohio) … The Downtown Dayton Partnership (DDP), along with its small business development partners, is inviting business owners to apply to the third session of the Downtown Dayton Retail Lab small business accelerator program. The Retail Lab is an intensive 12-week experience for business owners aiming to launch or grow their first-floor business in downtown Dayton. Applications will be accepted through July 22.


The Retail Lab has two main goals: To continue energizing downtown with vibrant storefronts, and to provide a supportive pathway into the downtown market for emerging first-floor entrepreneurs, especially woman-owned and minority-owned businesses.

“The Retail Lab is a way for our local entrepreneurial community of creative minds to discover downtown Dayton’s immense pool of support, and to leverage the opportunities available to support the future of downtown’s growth,” said Sandra K. Gudorf, president of the DDP.


The Downtown Dayton Retail Lab will provide a series of workshops, pitch opportunities, and services that connect the participating businesses to the people, ideas, capital, and resources that will help them thrive and grow in downtown Dayton. Weekly workshops will be held downtown.

Eligible businesses include boutiques, shops, cafes, studios, and restaurants – any consumer business that adds to the vibrancy of downtown’s sidewalks. Applicants should either be located in downtown Dayton or aiming to launch downtown in the next 6 to 12 months. Interested small business owners can find more information, including the program application, at Applications for the Downtown Dayton Retail Lab will be accepted through July 22, with the program slated to begin in August.


The Retail Lab leverages support from many business resource partners including the Entrepreneurs’ Center, the Miami Valley Small Business Development Center, Five Rivers MetroParks – 2nd Street Market, Launch Dayton, and The Hub at the Dayton Arcade.


“Building a successful business is full of challenges, but the Retail Lab equips participants with a network of peers and resources who can help them move forward faster,” said AJ Ferguson, director for entrepreneurship and innovation with the DDP and coordinator of the Retail Lab program.


“The Retail Lab was an amazing experience. Not only did I learn about areas of improvement for my business but I was able to make connections with fellow business owners,” said Lindsey Deck, a previous Retail Lab participant and owner of Space Three fitness studio in downtown Dayton.


Participation in the 12 week program is provided at no cost, and in addition to the support businesses receive through the workshops, each participant is eligible for up to $1,500 in services from creative, marketing, and operations consultants to implement a strategic improvement in their business.


Questions about the Retail Lab should be directed to AJ Ferguson,, or call (937) 681-9793.



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