Kids vying for chance to run mall business

FLINT TWP.. — As far back as the late 1800s, business-minded children have set up summer lemonade stands as a way to earn money and learn customer service skills.

Now they have an opportunity to spread their budding wings further by participating in Merchants of the Future, a Kid’s Inc. program hosted by Genesee Valley Center.

In an effort to promote retail entrepreneurism among today’s youth, Genesee Valley Center is inviting children ages six to 15- years old to participate in the “Kids, Inc.” program for a chance to briefly operate a business at the mall.

To qualify for the in-center event, kids must submit their business plans via Genesee Valley Center’s Facebook page from June 13-25, 2012. Children 12 and under will need a parent or guardian to submit their entry.

The shopping center’s Facebook fans will vote for their favorite business ideas from June 26- July 5. Based on the highest number of votes, 12 winners will be invited to a one-day “business showcase” where they can sell their products or services to customers and keep their earnings. Three winners will be selected from each of the following age groups; 6-7 years old, 8-9 years old, 10-12 years old, and 13-15 years old.

The winning participants will have the opportunity to set up shop at Genesee Valley Center to learn about business, make money, and most of all, have fun. Participants may create something from scratch, offer a service or resell a product purchased from a wholesaler. The businesses are expected to have minimal parental involvement.

“We are excited to put kids in business and offer this opportunity to budding retail entrepreneurs,” said Kristen Cassabon, mall marketing manager.

“Allowing kids to sell their prod- ucts or services in a retail environment will give them a real taste of what it takes to run a business. We’re looking forward to hosting these ‘merchants of the future.”

To learn more about the program, visit

The program is being hosted at select Jones Lang LaSalle-managed shopping centers throughout the U.S. Jones Lang LaSalle manages more than 350 regional malls, strip centers, power centers, lifestyle centers, ground-up development projects, mixed-use centers, transportation terminals and over 18,000 retail ATM’s and bank branches across 50 states. — Rhonda Sanders

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