Retail Boot Camp

TechTown’s Retail Boot Camp is an intensive, hands-on, 12-week program that prepares serious entrepreneurs for the opening of their brick-and-mortar establishments in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park. The program curriculum is designed to strengthen businesses to grow to a permanent location as they look to thrive in today’s retail environment. Retail Boot Camp has gained a reputation for supporting the launch of successful businesses in neighborhood commercial districts, including House of Pure VinMama Coo’s Boutique, Third Wave Music, Plum HealthVoluptuous Bien’Aime BoutiqueUrbanumFlamingo Vintage DetroitMature, Mongers’ Provisions, Estella’s Vegan Cuisine & Desserts and Spectacle Society

What is Covered

During sessions, action steps will be assigned. Discussions include but are not limited to the following topics:

  • Developing quality retail operations and routines
  • Designing impactful visual merchandising
  • Selling through virtual and in-person customer service
  • Selecting point-of-sale and e-commerce system
  • Understanding your pricing and inventory mix
  • Identifying startup costs and funding sources
  • Selecting a permanent location based on market data
  • Navigating brick-and-mortar regulations with legal guidance
  • Utilizing an architect for the design-build process
  • Developing crisis and store management practices

Retail Bootcamp Testimonial Video.

2022 Retail Boot Camp

Application Overview and Key Dates 

  • Application period: Thursday, January 20 – Sunday, February 13 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Interview Invitations Sent: Tuesday, February 15 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Virtual 30-minute Interviews: Tuesday, February 22 – Thursday, February 24
  • Acceptance Notifications: Tuesday, March 5 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Signed Participant Agreement Due: Tuesday, March 8 by 5:00 p.m.
  • $499 Payment Due In Full: Tuesday, March 15
  • Virtual Onboarding Session: March 22, 6:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Virtual Cohort Sessions: March 24 – June 2 (Thursdays, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.)
  • Final Showcase & Pitch: June 9

Application for Spring 2022 is now closed. For next sign-up, please click on the interest form button below.

Business Support Includes

  • 12 weeks of virtual sessions facilitated by business development and retail experts
  • Participants have the opportunity to pitch for up to $5,000 in technical assistance
  •  All graduates receive post-graduation coaching from the TechTown team for six months

Participants must have the following qualification:

  • Previous retail activity (pop-up or e-commerce transactions, trunk shows, job experience).
  • Must be intending to locate their business in Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck within 12 months of graduation.

TechTown is 100% committed to connecting all applicants to resources, regardless of program participation. Interested business owners are highly encouraged to complete the application.

There is no fee to apply to the program. Program fee upon acceptance is $499.

Retail Boot Camp is made possible with support from JPMorgan Chase, New Economy Initiative, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and Gilbert Family Foundation.