Meet the Create Here semi-finalists!

Posted by Kim Leonard


We’re so excited to share with you the 10 semi-finalists who have knocked our socks off for this first round of our Create Here Business Plan Competition, presented by Wells Fargo Bank. Prepare to find yourself hoping that by some magical act, all of them can win. They’re that awesome.

  • Char– Currently established in Visalia, this café of epicurean treats is looking to expand into Downtown Fresno.
  • Eye Candy– Already armed with a web presence on Society 6, Eye Candy offers unique apparel and accessories, and is looking to have not only a storefront but a base of operations.
  • Fitness 365– A mid to upper scale 24 hour urban fitness gym that provides quality commercial weight and cardiovascular equipment on a 24-hour, 365 days a year schedule
  • House of Pendragon– Already a popular local craft beer brewer, House of Pendragon is looking to build an additional retail tasting room location in the heart of the revitalization movement.
  • Made for Them– Made for Them’s aim is to combat human trafficking with fashion. This already established organization is ready to put their design headquarters and retail location in downtown Fresno.
  • Papa Steve & Nienna- This retailer will offer custom made home furnishings and accessories, many of which will be made in-store.
  • Raw Fresno- The Gluten Free/Vegan food truck that makes its way around Fresno almost every day of the week with fresh, raw, organic food will open a café location.
  • Root- Billing themselves as a Downtown Fresno general Store, Root will sell items such as clothing, home goods, skincare and fragrance, books and other small treasures made by local artisans and other small US based companies.
  • Sample Sneaker Boutique- Not just your ordinary shoe store, Sample Sneaker Boutique will be a store that will sell sneakers on consignment and act as a depot for owners to trade collectible sneakers.
  • Tree of Life Café- Tree of Life Café is a fresh farm-to-table, home-cooked comfort food establishment, serving and showcasing the agricultural products raised in Fresno County.

Each of our semi-finalists will be paired with a Central Valley SCORE mentor to whip their already brilliant business plans into tip-top shape before we narrow it down even further (I know, how on earth will with do it?!) to 5 finalists on September 28th.

In case you haven’t heard, the winner is going to receive all of this:

The following criteria will be applied to determine the winner:

  • Improvement to the downtown retail mix
  • Applicant’s experience + investment
  • Ability to engage the public
  • Site selection
  • Job creation
  • 60 second pitch video
  • Create Here Business Plan

Throughout the competition, competitors are able to participate in a series of workshops, trainings and events to help them prepare their business plans, hone their entrepreneurial skills and network with one another and the community. The Downtown Fresno Foundation expects that the winner will be announced mid-October and the Grand Opening could happen as early as January.

Are you excited yet? Keep following along, once we narrow it down to 5 finalists we’ll need you to help us choose a winner with a public vote! We’ll keep you posted when voting opens.

In the meanwhile, let’s all sit and daydream about which of these rockstars are going to win Create Here!


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