DRI Goods was founded in 2014 with the aim of connecting entrepreneurs searching for retail space with property owners committed to community wealth building through local business ownership. DRI Goods' founders, Courtney Jacobson and Nathan Stern, realized that entrepreneurs looking to open retail businesses often don't know where to find property owners willing to lease space to start-ups, while landlords seeking local businesses often don't know how to connect with entrepreneurs and effectively determine their likeliness to succeed in a given location, leading to market failure. By connecting entrepreneurs with business development, mentorship, and funding, DRI Goods helps entrepreneurs prepare for the organizational, financial, and emotional challenges of running a start-up retail business, reducing their risk of failure and inspiring confidence in the property owners who lease space to them.
DRI Goods began as a fiscally sponsored entity of the Urban Land Conservancy (ULC), who saw the value of locating community-serving retail businesses near high density transit sites throughout the Denver Metro Area as a key place-making component of such areas. In addition to fiscally sponsoring DRI Goods (until DRI Goods received its 501c3 designation in September, 2014), ULC provided start-up capital to DRI Goods to be used to fund the business of a pilot entrepreneur, whose business would serve as a proof-of-concept for the DRI Goods model. Additional financial support for DRI Goods' initial lending came from The Denver Foundation, the City of Westminster, individual and corporate partners, and board members, allowing the organization to expand its initial funding strategy and make two pilot loans. Now that a proof-of-concept has been established, DRI Goods is seeking additional financial partners to help fund the next round of talented entrepreneurs to open vibrant retail businesses throughout the Denver Metro Area.