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7 businesses coming to Downtown Lynchburg as a result of Launch LYH pitch competition

Downtown Lynchburg Association is sponsoring a competition to help add life to the downtown area (Credit: Claire Foley/WSET)
Downtown Lynchburg Association is sponsoring a competition to help add life to the downtown area (Credit: Claire Foley/WSET)
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There will be new businesses popping up all over Downtown Lynchburg in the next year, thanks to a new initiative.

The Downtown Lynchburg Association announced the winners of its inaugural Launch LYH pitch competition on Wednesday.

The program is dedicated to creating economic growth and revitalizing the area by supporting entrepreneurs looking to start, relocate or expand their business in Downtown Lynchburg.

All winning businesses are expected to open or expand their businesses within the next year. The selected applicants participated in an eight-week educational course, concluding with a competitive pitch event.

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The winners were chosen by a panel of local business experts based on their innovative ideas, strong business models, and demonstrated commitment to contributing to the vibrancy of Lynchburg's business community. The total grant funds of $115,000 were divided among the winners, according to their overall scores, respective business needs, and growth plans.

The winners of the Launch LYH Pitch Competition and new businesses coming to Downtown are:

Super Rad! – ($25,000)

  • Set to be Lynchburg's exclusive arcade bar, Super Rad! plans to revitalize downtown nightlife with a fusion of retro and modern gaming, alongside inventive culinary offerings. From live music nights and thrilling gaming tournaments to an open 'Free to Play' arena, it will create an inclusive environment, inviting all to relive arcade nostalgia and seize the opportunity to be the hero.

"We've been working on this concept since 2018 after seeing how exciting it could be and downtown seems to be the most logical spot with its future plans and central location,” said Cullen Jennings, owner of Super Rad! “We feel like there are no late-night exciting things to do downtown outside of your normal restaurants and bars. We want to change that. Launch LYH has given us an amazing jumping point after years of pitching an idea around. The program gave us all the resources to help lock in specifics and help us grow as future business owners in the Lynchburg area and we are beyond thankful for them."

PREAM – ($25,000)

  • PREAM (Plants Rule Everything Around Me) is preparing to revolutionize indoor gardening, offering a wide array of houseplants and care accessories. With a unique focus on houseplant health and diversity, PREAM will cultivate an inclusive indoor gardening community by adapting to evolving plant needs and fostering plant education.

Wolfbane Productions – ($25,000)

  • Wolfbane Productions, a renowned theater company, will expand to Downtown Lynchburg, enriching the local arts scene. With its new location, Wolfbane Productions aims to engage a wider audience and promote the arts community through innovative and immersive theatrical experiences.

Lynchburg Golf &Social – ($10,000)

  • Lynchburg Golf & Social, an extension of River District Golf &Social in Danville, VA, seamlessly blends golf and entertainment. It provides realistic golf simulation, exceptional dining, and drinks in a lively sports bar ambiance. Customers can experience high-quality golfing in a relaxed setting, making it the ultimate destination for top-quality entertainment, food, and beverages.

“From day one, expansion has always been our goal, and we feel that Lynchburg is the perfect place. Similar to Danville, Lynchburg has a focus on reviving the downtown area and we want to be a part of that,” said Richard Barrick, owner of Lynchburg Golf and Social Club. “The Launch LYH program has been extremely valuable and informative with tons of resources. I can not say enough about the program and what they have done for our business.”

Mosaic Collective + Threaded – ($10,000)

  • Mosaic Collective and its sustainable thrift store, Threaded,will move to a bigger location on Main Street from 5th Street. These stores embody a dedication to social and environmental justice. Mosaic promotes fair trade and empowers marginalized communities, while Threaded encourages a circular economy, affordability, and raises awareness about the fast fashion's impact. Through community giveback initiatives and a 'Cash for Clothes' concept, they are transforming retail into a catalyst for global sustainability and equality.

The Lost Playground – ($10,000)

  • The Lost Playground will be coming to Downtown Lynchburg, offering a diverse menu, a nine-hole mini golf experience called Lucky Putt; duckpin bowling, a cutting-edge gaming area, and a comfortable indoor/outdoor lounge with backyard games. Lucky Putt, their standout attraction, will transform traditional mini golf into an interactive, challenge-based game with exclusive technology, providing an exceptional social experience.

Easy Speak Dance Hall & Events – ($10,000)

  • Easy Speak Dance Hall & Events, LLC, will provide an immersive dance experience with various styles, lessons, and live music events. In addition to dancing, the venue will offer beverages, snacks, and pizzas, and host special dinner events. It will also be available for private rentals and community gatherings, serving as a versatile hub for the local community.

The winners will also receive the Launch LYH Prize Package, which includes resources from partnering organizations, designed to further support their entrepreneurial journey.

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"I am thrilled to see the incredible potential and entrepreneurial spirit showcased by the winners of the Launch LYH pitch competition. These businesses will undoubtedly contribute to the vibrancy and economic growth of Downtown Lynchburg,” said Ashley Kershner, the Executive Director of the Downtown Lynchburg Association. “We are proud to support their journey and look forward to witnessing their success as they bring their innovative ideas to life in our community."

This program was made possible with the support of its sponsors, including the Department of Community and Housing Development's Community Business Launch Program, the Truist Foundation, Bank of the James, Freedom First Credit Union, Scott Insurance, City of Lynchburg Office of Economic Development and Tourism, Moore & Giles, Stifel, Small Business Development Center - Lynchburg Region, Central Virginia Community College, Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance, and The Virginian Hotel.

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