Monmouth Director of Community Development Paul Schuytema said the Fusion Theater at Monmouth College was "packed beyond imagination" as the results were announced for the Shops of Monmouth Retail Business Competition.
The competition started with 18 entrants. The field was narrowed to six finalists, from which three winners were chosen.
The six finalists had a two-and-a-half minute window to pitch their ideas to the judges, followed by a ten minute question and answer period.
The judges chose:
- G's Cafe Haus, which is a coffee house
- Maude Specklebelly's, which will sell artisan gifts.
- Western Stoneware Company, which is a new business using the historic name. It will specialize in pottery.
Schuytema said it was a close competition.
"Honestly, all six finalists did a great job pitching. The ones that did not make it to the top three are still absolutely great businesses we would like to see downtown. So, our hope is to work with them."
The three winners will share a prize package valued at $28,000. The package includes free commercial rent, build-out cash, free professional services, and marketing assistance.
In addition, each winning business received a trophy.
The city anticipates the stores will open this fall.