The Application Process

The Shoppes at Grandon Plaza, a retail incubator project by Sterling Main Street, is being designed to attract small businesses, create more retail shopping options, and bring people into downtown Sterling. Its inaugural season will open in the spring of 2023!

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.

Running a business is a big venture and we want you to succeed!  This is why we are encouraging applicants to submit business plans along with their application. If you don’t have one yet, the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Sauk Valley Community College can help you create one.

While a number of spots have already been awarded, applications will remain open until all units are filled.

Important information to consider before applying: 

Rent & Shop Hours – The Shoppes at Grandon Plaza will be open May 4 – December 23, 2023.

Rent for the season is $2400 ($300 per month) for the 12’x16′ incubator which will house your small business for the 8-month season.
**Please note the dates and times below are the MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS. Vendors may be open additional dates and time as they may choose.
HOURS – May to December
Thursdays & Fridays– 10 AM to 6 PM
Saturdays – 10 AM to 4 PM
Wednesday evenings May 31 – August 2 – 4 PM to 7 PM
(in advance of Municipal Band concerts held at the Grandon Civic Center)These days and hours are MANDATED. Please consider who can cover your shop if you cannot be there.

Vendor Selection Process:

Six 12’x16′ incubator units will be available for the 2023 season. Your application WILL NOT be considered unless it is complete.

An independent jury will review all applications and select the vendors for the 2023 season.  The jury will strive to provide diversity in our vendor offerings. Applications will be reviewed with this in mind. Applications may be approved that sell similar items, and once approved additional product lines shall not be introduced without prior approval.

A contract will be provided and a location assignment will be made by the Shoppe’s Manager. All accepted applicants must participate in marketing and events, and participate in the training opportunities provided. Subletting of units during the lease term is not permitted.

All businesses/vendors will be required to have an business EIN as well as pay sales tax. If your business type requires additional licensing, proof of that will be require as well. No businesses which require potable water, heating or preparing of food onsite will be accepted due to the limitations of the incubator spaces.  If you intend to sell prepared foods for offsite consumption, please include detail on where your products are prepared under the business description section below and attach a copy of your food sanitation license as one of your uploads.

Applicants with additional questions may contact:

Sterling Main Street
Janna Groharing, Executive Director
15 East 3rd Street
Sterling, IL 61081
Phone:  815-626-8610

*Please note that Sterling Main Street will do it’s best to adhere to this timeline. As the incubator units are currently under construction, modifications to the timeline may be needed due to unforeseen construction delays.  Every effort will be made to keep vendors, once selected, fully informed on the construction process. 
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