DRIP participants gathered outside the shop they will be sharing in Downtown Decatur. From left: Stace Loyd, Michelle Loyd, Michael Loyd, Htwe Htwe, Mary Ellen Sheehan, and “Buzz” Busbee.

The Decatur Downtown Development Authority has announced the selection of three businesses as part of its inaugural retail recruitment incubator, which will open on Oct. 15.

The Decatur Retail Incubator Program (DRIP) will provide these online-only businesses the opportunity to test their concepts in a brick-and-mortar location at 431 W. Ponce de Leon Avenue for a six-month period.

The three businesses that met all the requirements and signed leases with the DDA are: ABETTERBUZZ Brand GoodsDope Coffee Company and Royal Thanaka Natural Skincare.

Launched in 2016, ABETTERBUZZ is a bold, graphics-inspired apparel and goods provider founded by “Buzz” Busbee.

A Black-owned and focused beverage business, Dope Coffee Company creates special products inspired by Black culture to reject the stereotypes surrounding premium coffee and the people who drink it.

Royal Thanaka Natural Skincare is a socially conscious skin care brand co-founded by Htwe Htwe and Myo Naing, who emigrated from Myanmar to the U.S. in 2002, and Mary Ellen Sheehan, who grew up in Ireland.

A key aspect of the retail incubator is the included mentorship from established brick-and-mortar business owners Sean Crotty (Kelly’s Market), Lisa Bobb (Squash Blossom), Raj Mehta (Tres Jolie Boutique) and Lori Ronca (Homegrown Decatur).

For more information on the incubator program, visit decaturga.com

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.