CRE-logoCongratulations to our first cohort group on achieving their Certificate in Retail Operations! After completing hours of online and in-class training on business planning, financial management, merchandising, marketing, customer service, and human resources, our graduates are well-prepared to venture into the entrepreneurial world.

As one student stated, “I learned about everything it takes to prepare to open my own business. The preparations I must take, such as saving money, getting permits, purchasing supplies and store fixtures, advertising, marketing, employee training, and preparing a monthly and yearly account of expenses.”

7 principals of retail excellenceWith the success of the first cohort, three more have been scheduled for late 2017 into 2018, on the Southside (Norfolk), Peninsula (Newport News), and in Gloucester.

The Norfolk training will include the tenants of Selden Market in downtown Norfolk and the in-person classes will be held in the Retail Alliance Training Room. The Selden Market is a new space that opened this fall in the historic Selden Arcade. The market is a space for innovative entrepreneurs to develop their street-level ideas in a low-risk environment, offering short-term leases and low rents, with a supportive community. It serves as a retail incubator for new and emerging businesses, offering mentorship and education. It also supports established businesses who are interested in bringing their concepts to Downtown Norfolk. Our partnership serves to help these tenants develop the skills and knowledge necessary in achieving long-term success in their entrepreneurial journey. Along with Selden tenants, other retailers, small business owners/managers, and entrepreneurs wishing to enroll in the Norfolk-based training, are welcome.

The launch of our first Peninsula Cohort will provide the same opportunity to potential students on the Peninsula to achieve the Certificate in Retail Operations, but the gathering sessions will be held at a more convenient location. We have arranged with the Center for Weight Loss Success to utilize their training room for the face-to-face element of the training. Their address is: 645 J. Clyde Morris Boulevard, Newport News, VA, 23601.

We have partnered with Gloucester Main Street Preservation to provide training for their members in Gloucester. Other local businesses are welcome to join this cohort as well. The training will be held in the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust training room at 6882 Main Street, Suite G, Gloucester, 23510.

cre_phil scottis peaking“We are excited that our partnership with Retail Alliance helps our main street retailers develop the skills and knowledge necessary in achieving long-term success in their entrepreneurial and retail career journey,” said Jennifer E Crittenden, Executive Director of Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust. “The Main Street Preservation Trust is offering scholarships to their existing business owners who take the Certificate in Retail Operations program as a whole (seven classes offered throughout the year) as well as for those who wish to take individual classes,” Crittenden states.

“The scholarships are on a first come, first served basis and can cover up to 50 percent of the costs. We encourage the entire curriculum but want to offer the flexibility as well where needed. This is a great opportunity for our existing business owners to take a closer look at an expansion plan or just hone their skills in certain areas. We also wish to spur new entrepreneurial pursuits on Main Street and that begins with vetting a concept fully and learning how to run a business.¬†This program is perfect for that person who is ready to fully explore a business idea.”

cre_tobias speakingFor those new entrepreneurs who take the entire curriculum and decide to move forward and open a business identified as a need on Main Street, scholarships will be available to them as well. For information on reserving a space for a scholarship, please call Executive Director, Jenny Crittenden at (804) 824- 9614 or email to Dates have been set for each cohort and are outlined in this article. Please note that cohort gatherings are listed in the week in which they will occur. The day of the week they will be scheduled is still under review. The time may change as well. Both day and time will be solidified by October 1, 2017. Additional classes for Run with It! and Dollars & Sense will be scheduled as “floaters.” That is, these courses will be scheduled as needed, based on marketing activities and interest levels. If you have any questions, please contact our Director of Center for Retail Excellence, Susan Moore, at or call (757) 455 9319.