Seven small business finalists chosen for 3 free months of rent to test St. Louis storefront

ST. LOUIS – The pandemic has closed many business doors, but Edwards Realty Company, which…

ST. LOUIS – The pandemic has closed many business doors, but Edwards Realty Company, which owns The Boulevard in Richmond Heights is giving one St. Louis small business the chance to open doors to a storefront for the first time in the area.

“We created this Pop Local contest to see businesses that were really ready to take that next leap going to brick and mortar,” Ramzi Hassan, president of Edwards Realty Company, said. “The winner gets three rent-free months at a storefront at The Boulevard, $2000 to decorate and make the space their own, marketing support, and a grand opening celebration.

The seven finalists will participate in a showcase for the public to learn more about each of them and shop at the store on Saturday, March 20 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Hassan said 75 businesses applied and “they were all viable businesses.”

They narrowed it down to seven businesses, which all happen to be women-owned.

The finalists are Brickwood Boutique, Daph, Pure Vibes, Sara Patino Jewelry, The Design House, Series Six Company, and Party Hop Shop.

“A lot of these contestants too have faced some kind of adversity that has drawn them to entrepreneurships so that was cool to see how that has evolved and were here to support them,” Hassan said.

The seven finalists took part in interviews with Edwards Realty Company on Friday.

“Between the two of us, we have 6 kids and have thrown a lot of first birthday parties, done a lot of searching for new and different party décor that we couldn’t find in town and it was a no-brainer to work together and bring our vision to life,” Ashley Roberts, co-owner of Party Hop Shop said.

“We’ve been wanting a space for a long time so it would really be a dream for us to have a space and be able to let more people experience what we do as far as party hop,” Co-Owner of Party Hop Shop Ashley Detweiler said.

All seven finalists specialize in different products from the other.

Sami Maurer, owner of Series Six Company said in a statement Friday, “Our followers are eager to see us open a storefront and we have a vision for an awesome shopping experience we’d love to bring to life. We know we could bring great added foot traffic to The Boulevard with in-store only events and sales. With our success at local events and strong partnerships with The Blues, Anheuser-Busch, and a variety of local restaurants and nonprofits, we are ready to take Series Six to the next level. We know a storefront is in our future and we’re grateful to be amongst some awesome local entrepreneurs as finalists.”

The winner will be chosen on March 31 after a mix of online voting polls, guest judges, and interviews.

Vote here:

Here are the bios and profiles of the seven finalists, from Pop Local:

Brickwood Boutique: Brickwood is a clothing and accessory boutique for women with trendy styles at affordable prices to ensure that women of all walks of life have access to the confidence they deserve.
About the owner: Christen Edmonds is a former Missouri University graduate. She is proud to be a female-owned business and loves to offer women the opportunity for retail experience in her storefronts.

Daph: A St. Louis-based fashion and lifestyle brand for women that features handmade clothing, handbags and accessories inspired by the unique artistry, craftmanship and materials of Peru. Daph giveback initiatives are currently concentrated in the Amazon jungle, at a school for children with lesser-known illnesses and special needs.
About the Owner: Designed by Peru native and St. Louisan Daphne Benzaquen, our handbags and clothing are created to be timeless and standout pieces, providing high-quality elegance and versatility at an approachable price point.

Party Hop Shop: We are a party company founded by two STL moms. We sell party decorations and create custom balloon installations. Top-selling items include DIY Balloon Garland Kits, seasonal holiday party kits, paper goods, candles, printables, and party boxes.
About Ashley Roberts and Ashley Detweiler: After throwing five first birthday parties between the two of us and spending too much money and too much time on Pinterest, we wanted to bring a one-stop party shop experience to other moms and party planners out there like ourselves.

Pure Vibes: Pure Vibes is a worker-owned cooperative that creates essential wellness products, including handmade artisan soaps and aromatherapy goods that elevate our customers and our community by building equity and ownership that sustains the people, community, and planet.
About the Owners: Tiffany Snow Wesley created Pure Vibes in 2013. During the 2020 pandemic, Pure Vibes was transitioned into a worker-owned cooperative. A cooperative company is owned by the workers and/or members unified to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs.

Sara Patino Jewelry: Sara Patino Jewelry is crafted in St. Louis, MO, by women, with care and kindness towards our environment. Each piece is made by hand using recycled gold and ethical gemstones. It’s for women that seek modern sustainable jewelry with a purpose.
About the Owner: Inspired by her Columbian heritage, Sara Patino travels to South America to take in the language, culture and ultra-green farm country of central Columbia. Her appreciation for Columbian handmade accessories, nature and love of travel spans back to childhood and is represented in her sustainable and ethical jewelry today.

Series Six: Series Six is a woman-owned St. Louis inspired apparel company focused on creating merchandise for everyone who loves STL.
About the Owner: What first started as a college passion project for Owner Sami Mauer, Series Six has grown into a beloved local business known for supporting the community through charity of the month and local restaurant giveback shirts.

The Design House, Curated: The Design House, Curated is a place to purchase quality goods for everyday living and experience the joy of interior design. We help you envision a home full of aliveness and explore the brilliance of purposeful gathering.
About Lisa Knight: Lisa and her partner are St. Louis residents with a love of architecture, good design and great lines. “