We finally have the answer as to who will end up in one of the coolest buildings in Downtown Lafayette, as Magnolia Pantry has been named the winner of the Small Business Challenge, organized by One Acadiana (1A).

Korey Champagne and Alexis Badon, the dynamic duo behind Magnolia Pantry, will soon have the opportunity to introduce Lafayette, both locals and visitors alike, to their innovative concept. Magnolia Pantry's vision for a spot where savory and sweet pies meet a selection of curated drinks and icy treats is set to become a reality in the historic Sans Souci Building, adding a new layer to one of the best districts for foodies that Lafayette has to offer.

The Small Business Challenge, designed to draw entrepreneurial talent to Downtown Lafayette, offered up to $100,000 in capital and a coveted lease on the Sans Souci premises to the winning idea. Kevin Blanchard, CEO of the Downtown Development Authority/Downtown Lafayette Unlimited (DDA/DLU), praised the initiative as "a celebration of local heritage and a step towards making Vermilion Street a hub of vibrancy and community life."

Magnolia Pantry's founders say they are eager to contribute to the downtown area's unique vibe, providing a family-friendly venue that promises to be a hit for days at the splash pad or brand playground as well as serving those who work, live, and play downtown. Their focus will be on quick service and a welcoming atmosphere for the diverse audience they expect to serve with their food and beverage concept.

Leaders from the Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA) and One Acadiana were high on the initiative behind the Small Business Challenge for its role in bolstering the downtown district as a key business and cultural zone. The challenge reflects a shared commitment to fostering a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem that enhances Lafayette Parish's quality of life.

The competition started with 33 initial submissions narrowed down to one winner through a process that included workshops, a pitch competition, and rigorous assessments by a panel of local entrepreneurs and economic developers. While the challenge was certainly competitive, the broader impact has already been seen when it comes to the potential for new ventures that promise to enrich Lafayette's economic and cultural landscape.

The success of the Small Business Challenge, supported by 1A's investors and partners, follows a shared community focus on creating a vibrant, innovative, and resilient urban core. As Magnolia Pantry prepares to open its doors in the coming months (hopefully sooner than later), they are excited to serve longtime supporters who are excited for their victory in the Small Business Challenge, but more importantly, new faces and families who will frequent their new location at Parc Sans Souci.

Serving as the chamber of commerce for Lafayette and the leading economic development organization for the nine-parish Acadiana region, One Acadiana represents a vibrant community of over 800 investors, members, and partners dedicated to the regional business community's growth and prosperity.

Get more details and information on the Small Business Challenge here from One Acadiana.

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