ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Some call it the Amazon effect: malls all over the country losing store after store or closing altogether. Shopping centers that have survived, like The Meadows at Lake St. Louis, are thinking differently about attracting new businesses and customers.

The Meadows is sponsoring RetailNEXT, a contest for local entrepreneurs who think they have a winning retail idea. Similar to the TV show "Shark Tank", the winner will get free rent up to one year along with the support of several high profile judges & mentors, mall management, and retail marketing experts.

“RetailNEXT is a competition that we've been dreaming of for about a year,” said Meadows general manager Alysia Kerkove. “Whoever wins will win a space that we're going to help build-out. They're going to give them free rent for an entire year. We're going to put them into business.”

Kerkove said it’s possible there will be more than one winner because of the quality of the entrants.

“We might put a couple of people into business because we feel so good about what we've already seen,” said Kerkove.

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