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Calling All Dreamers Competition Now Open

calling all dreamers

Ready, set, dream!

Calling All Dreamers, the successful and only retail business competition of its kind in the region, is officially underway.

Organized by the Downtown Sacramento Foundation (DSF), sister organization to the Downtown Sacramento Partnership (DSP), Calling All Dreamers aims to foster Sacramento’s entrepreneurial spirit and cultivate the next generation of dreamers in Sacramento. The Shark Tank-style competition encourages entrepreneurs to compete for a coveted business start-up package that is designed to provide the winner with essential resources and helpful tools needed to successfully launch a downtown storefront.

Contestants may submit proposals for downtown business concepts for the 4th Annual Calling All Dreamers competition. Applications, along with competition rules and key dates, are available online at CallingAllDreamers.org and will be accepted through March 29, 2016 at 5 p.m. After a review process and public voting period, the 2016 Calling All Dreamers winner will be announced in June 2016.

“This is undeniably one of the most exciting times in Sacramento’s history to start a business in the urban core,” said Valerie Mamone Werder, DSP senior manager of business development. “The sky is the limit for entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas who can tap into the momentum and energy focused on downtown Sacramento.”

Since the launch of the Calling All Dreamers competition in 2013, DSF has helped 12 new businesses open in downtown Sacramento. Past winners include: Andy’s Candy Apothecary, The Dailey Method, Ana Apple, and Allspicery.

A testament to the power of this competition is that several contestants went on to open businesses despite not winning the grand prize. Those businesses include: Sun & Soil, South, Off the Chain Bike Bus Tours, Metro Juice, Benjamin’s Shoes, Whired Wine, and The Workspace: Fashion Incubator, and more. To date, these locally owned businesses have leased more than 15,000 sf of retail space and created approximately 10 full-time and 35-part-time jobs.

2015 Calling all Dreamers Grand Prize winner, Heather Wong of The Allspicery, is slated to open this quarter at 1125 11th Street. Allspicery will be the first one-stop spice shop in Sacramento, offering a curated selection of spices, salts, teas, and proprietary house-made spice blends sourced from around the world. The shop will offer commonplace spices as well as obscure, hard-to-find ingredients. Spices will be sold whole or freshly ground in-house, making the shop a veritable candy store for foodies.

The 2016  competition is made possible by the generous support of the following sponsors who continue to be champions for the economic growth of the Downtown core and the Sacramento region: Mering Carson; City of Sacramento Economic Development; Market One Builders; Smith, McDowell and Powell; BFBA, LLP; and Wells Fargo.


About the author

Traci Rockefeller Cusack

Traci Rockefeller Cusack has 25+ years of media and public relations experience.  Her work experience includes News10 (ABC) as Promotion Manager from 1989-1998 (where she developed and launched “Coats for Kids’ Sake,” a winter coat drive that lasted 20+ years plus coordinated Oprah Winfrey’s first ever visit to Sacramento) and Fleishman-Hillard as Vice President from 1998-2005 (where she led the wildly successful statewide “California Grown” program and also produced the five-minute video that played on the Jumbotron on Opening Day at Pac Bell Park). In 2007, she launched T-Rock Communications and currently handles a wide range of marketing activities for a number of top-notch organizations.

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