FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – L. Mae Boutique started as a part-time hobby, became an online business and grew into two brick-and-mortar stores two towns. This week, it won the Florence Full Forward Downtown Business Contest, providing incentives to open a third store in Florence.
According to a City of Florence news release, the contest was announced in May and 36 businesses submitted entries to win $50,000.
The contest's goal was to give existing retail businesses or franchisees the opportunity to relocate or expand into downtown in an effort to increase the number of retail shops. Last Thursday, a panel of judges selected L. Mae Boutique as the winner. The boutique will get $50,000, including $20,000 cash for new store expenses, a $30,000 up-fit grant to be used for interior renovations, $500 for signage and $300 for a first-year business line of credit.
L. Mae has two locations, one in Pawleys Island and another in Myrtle Beach, and Florence may offer special lease incentives as it moves into downtown by November.
The store's two signature brands, L. Mae Boutique and Wild Mabel are described as colorful preppy and relaxed beachy-boho, respectively.
"The contest greatly exceeded our expectations, we never envisioned that we would receive 36 entries. While L.Mae was the winner of the $50,000 prize, most of the other entries will still be eligible to receive the up-fit grant as well as the sign grant and business license credit if they choose to locate a business downtown. Those incentives total over $30,000," said Bob Sager, retail recruitment specialist with the Florence Downtown Development Corporation.
For more information, call Bob Sager at 843-407-1512.