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First Retail Biz For Downtown Incubator Program

May 7, 2014, 10:10 PM by Angela Kennecke

First Retail Biz For Downtown Incubator Program

In just a little more than month after introducing a new incentive to bring businesses to downtown Sioux Falls, a new store has been accepted by the incubator program.

A new running shop will open on Phillips Avenue in the old Go Casual storefront. And the new business is getting much more than just a break in the rent.

Paul Watley and Wayne Earney are making big plans for this space on Phillips Avenue.  This summer it will become 605 Running Company -- selling everything from shoes to running gear.

"It's just been a dream of ours and something we'd like to do someday," Watley said.

That someday turned into now, thanks to the Downtown Sioux Falls incubator program. 

"It was a complete accident. I was watching the news one night and the story came on and I immediately jumped online and I thought -- I think we have a shot at this," Earney said.

They'd been considering setting up shop in the southeast part of town, but the program to supplement their rent and give them a business mentor made downtown an obvious choice.

"None of us have had experience in retail before.  All the little things about starting a business have been new to us. That's why this incubator program is such a great thing because we get teamed up with somebody else who's been through it before," Watley said.

"Yeah, having these is really great because you don't have to build anything, you can modify them to meet your needs, which is great," Echols said.

Their mentors are DeAnn and James Echols, owners of the Great Outdoor Store, who've been in business downtown nearly 20 years. 

"Just to have that sounding board is going to be really great for these guys.  And just to know they can pretty much walk out their back door and come find us," Echols said.

"There's still a little anxiety; just because there are a lot of unknowns. But it definitely eases my mind a lot, knowing we have all these great resources," Watley said.

It will take a couple of months to transform the former women's clothing store into a running store. 605 Running Company plans to be up and running by the middle of July. 

Businesses accepted into the Downtown Sioux Falls incubator program must commit to a three year lease and the first 18 months are supplemented.  Only a couple of businesses have completed the application process.

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