City of Centennial to tap artists for spotlighting local businesses

'Experience accelerator' to create partnerships for restaurant, retail, service businesses

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The City of Centennial is accepting applications from retail, restaurant and service businesses to be included in the city's 2021 Spark Experience Accelerator, a program that pairs artists with merchants to create “unique offerings” that call attention to Centennial businesses, the city announced on its website.

The shift in American consumerism toward prioritizing “experiences over products or things,” the city's website notes, has created a need for businesses to adjust.

Consumers' shift to buying more online and spending money on experiences rather than traditional goods is “profoundly affecting” the retail industry, the city previously said in a newsletter.

The city's Spark Experience Accelerator is part of the Spark Centennial program, an effort to put spotlight on Centennial's local businesses and, possibly, to entice businesses to fill spaces that sit vacant in the city. Centennial began holding the “Spark” events in 2019.

The city described its accelerator effort as an opportunity to create artistic programming that “enhances the customer experience,” to increase sales through a collaborative marketing and public-relations initiative, and to connect with a network of creative talent.

The broader Spark Centennial effort has put on artistic collaborations before: A display with changing lights and flashy trappings occupied the front of the vacant former Petco building near University Boulevard and Dry Creek Road in December.

It was part of an interactive smartphone-based puzzle called “With My Gnomies” that sent participants on a hunt to visit or learn more about nearby businesses, such as Rolling Smoke BBQ, Cakeheads Bakery and Professionally Faded Barbershop.

The upcoming accelerator effort — a six-month program — will offer marketing and communications support to promote businesses' “experience offerings” and monthly chats with industry experts. Participation in the program is funded by the City of Centennial.

Space is limited, the city's website says, and businesses must register by March 1. The city expects to hold a March 12 “kickoff meeting” for the program.

Businesses can register on the city's website here toward the bottom of the page by clicking on “sign up.”

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