A ribbon-cutting held today marked the official opening of the Renaissance East Corridor, a collaborative of small businesses located near 5th Street and Laura Wall Blvd, a few blocks from Winston-Salem State University.

Renaissance East Ribbon Cutting

Since January, students at WSSU have partnered with seven small business owners to develop a marketing plan, signage, and other support for the businesses. The students are a part of an entrepreneurial marketing course taught by Dr. Notis Pagiavlas, marketing professor and founding director of the WSSU Center For Entrepreneurship (CFE).

The project, called “Stake Your Claim,” is supported through the S.G. Atkins Community Development Corp., which assists East Winston residents and businesses. The project is allowing students to gain hands-on experience but also impact an area near campus.

Through discussions with the business owners, three phases of the marketing strategy were identified:

  • Create a community organization of neighbors collaborating to strengthen their businesses.
  • Collaborate with CDC and CFE to install and design matching outdoor signage and marketing material.
  • Prepare marketing plans and create a cohesive property appearance.

The signage was custom-built by Leon’s Custom Signs & Designs. Marketing plans for each business and their websites will be completed by the end of the month.

“We want to help increase the visibility of businesses in this historically significant corridor, and we’re excited that these entrepreneurs are working with WSSU students to form their own marketing collaborative and generate ideas to promote the area,” said Carol Davis, executive director of the Atkins CDC.

Business owners are: Hazel Mack, owner of Other Suns;  Dr. Jonathan Weston; James Taylor of The Chronicle newspaper; Jeremy Johnson; Cheryl Harry; Kenya Thornton; and Helen Moore.