Five girls from Neuqua Valley High School envision a south Naperville shopping area becoming a healthy lifestyle center.
Gabriella Arizzi, Christina Hui, Aarushi Shrivastava, Kim Turner and Quincy VanderMeulen won a student marketing contest with their plan to fill vacancies at Naperville Crossings with such companies as Nike, Lush cosmetics, Big Bowl Asian restaurant, Fleming's steakhouse, Lyfe Kitchen vegan restaurant, an indoor go-cart venue and an indoor rock climbing facility.
The team spent a semester researching potential tenants for the shopping center at 95th Street and Route 59, which hasn't exactly developed according to plan because of the recession. Kim said she and her classmates chose to focus on businesses that are healthy, active and give back to the community.
Getting company representatives to realize their calls seeking business location requirements weren't pranks was an interesting element of the challenge, Christina said. But Kim said she enjoyed it despite the "confusion" of adults on the other end of the line.
"I thought it was a lot of fun," Kim said.
The five winners will get to attend a development convention with the Naperville Development Partnership, which works to promote economic growth in Naperville.
After the excitement of being announced as the winners of the "Mission 60564" competition during a city council meeting Tuesday night, Christina said the next step is to get mentally prepared to present to professionals at the convention.
About 270 marketing students from all three high schools in Indian Prairie Unit District 204 participated in the contest. City council member Robert Fieseler, who helped orchestrate the program, said students spent months doing market research and completing their plans to fill commercial, office, retail, restaurant and entertainment spaces available at Naperville Crossings.
"What better group to suggest how those empty slots should be filled," Fieseler said, "than the students who are currently able to patronize restaurants and stores there but also in the future will be one of our principal demographic groups to actually use that development."