Sterling has a long history of innovation and creativity. Inspired by the success of retail incubator programs such as the Batavia Boardwalk Shops (Batavia, IL) and Western Market (Muskegon, MI), the Shoppes at Grandon Plaza will offer entrepreneurs in the Sauk Valley region an opportunity to test the market and hone the skills necessary to succeed in today’s competitive retail market.
The addition of a retail-focused incubator will complement existing assets such as the Small Business Technology Center, the Kitchen Incubator of NW Illinois and the Twin City Farmers Market to further Sterling’s legacy as the hub of entrepreneurship in the Sauk Valley. With the continued growth of local programs such as WACC’s Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO) Program and Sauk Valley Community College’s Leadership Program, along with local events like Sterling Main Street’s Pop-Up Market series, the Shoppes at Grandon Plaza will continue to expand the pipeline of services our community can offer to continue to “grow our own” small businesses.
Thanks to the generous contribution of the site (a vacant lot located at 310 2nd Avenue, Sterling) by Sterling Today, Inc. and an initial investment by the City of Sterling, construction began in the Summer of 2022. Additional partners have already committed their time and talent to the project, including McCloud & Associates Architecture, Wendler Engineering, and the Building Trades Program of the Whiteside Area Career Center, along with the countless hours of time the volunteers of Sterling Main Street’s Economic Vitality Committee have dedicated to this project.
However, additional community investors are being sought to help bring this project to fruition and to help continue to grow entrepreneurship in the Sauk Valley.
The long-term goal of this project is to continue to foster entrepreneurship in Sterling and the greater Sauk Valley region, specifically as it relates to retail shopping. To provide a structured setting for new businesses to test their market, while also providing the ongoing educational support and training for those entrepreneurs to help ensure their best chance of long-term success in a competitive and challenging retail environment. And further, to provide a pipeline of new businesses to keep storefronts occupied and add to the prosperity of the communities in which they locate.
How Can You Help?
Sterling Main Street is seeking community partners to invest in entrepreneurship in Sterling and the greater Sauk Valley area. Both individual and business donations are welcome. Your one time contribution to this project will help curate small businesses in our community for years to come.
Your investment will assist with construction costs of the incubator units, including the needed sitework. We are hopeful investor response will be great enough that we are able to fully complete the space with landscaping and other amenities to make the Shoppes at Grandon Plaza a destination in Downtown Sterling, complement the improvements the City is making to Central Memorial Park, and provide a pedestrian connection from the park to the rest of the Downtown. We are grateful to those who have already committed their services to bringing this project to life, and the opportunity to work with the next generation of entrepreneurs in its construction through our partnership with the Building Trades Program of the Whiteside Area Career Center (WACC).
Permanent signage will be placed at the site to recognize the Community Partners and Investors who contributed to its creation.
To request a presentation on the project, schedule a meeting to further discuss investment opportunities or for any questions, please contact:
Sterling Main Street
Janna Groharing, Executive Director
15 East 3rd Street
Sterling, IL 61081