RHOBACK Wins 2016 EDENS Retail Challenge and the Opportunity to Bring Retail Concept to Life


WASHINGTON, March 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — EDENS, one of the nation’s leading retail real estate owners and developers, announced that Rhoback, led by Kristina Zambelli and Matt Loftus, is the winner of the 2016 EDENS Retail Challenge, a nationwide university student competition seeking the most compelling new retail concept. 

Rhoback is a stylish, high-end brand of active wear for ‘preppy’ men. Named after the Rhodesian Ridgeback, an athletic and energetic dog, the company’s target audience is men who ‘crave activity’. Rhoback’s Loftus and Zambelli represented the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia at this year’s Challenge.

The competition culminated with final presentations at D.C.’s famed Union Market on Friday, March 4th. Rhoback will receive a monetary award as well as additional support from EDENS’ in-house team of financial, marketing and design professionals as they continue to build their brand.

“The thing that is so exciting is that retail, the brick and mortar shop, is playing such an important part in communities. And each one of our finalists here represented that today,” said Jodie W. McLean, CEO of EDENS. “Their role in building community, whether it’s with supporting their suppliers and artisans, promoting an active lifestyle with their customers or empowering young women to understand their fashion choices, that is what retail is all about.”

Past retail challenge winners include Follain, a healthy, wholesome and sound beauty line, and Artis, a live-roast coffee shop. With multiple locations open, both concepts are successful and growing rapidly—a testament to the value of the support and resources the retail challenge provides.

“We have gotten such great feedback and we can’t wait to get to market,” explains Loftus. “This process was absolutely fantastic,” adds Zambelli. “Joining the Retail Challenge has been the best thing we have ever done with our brand Rhoback. We would never have been able to get this kind of input. The guidance from EDENS, the talented mentors who worked with us, as well as the insights from the judges here today, were over the top and so incredibly helpful.”

Rhoback was selected after an intensive, six-month process of competition, which evaluated some of the best and the brightest concepts from colleges and universities around the country. 

The final pitch, which took place this morning, was made to a panel of industry luminaries:

Tara Foley – Founder of Follain
Brett Schulman – CEO, President of Cava Group
Elaine Chon-Baker – Founder and Managing Director of Mokia Ventures 
Jodie W. McLean – CEO of EDENS                      

The other finalists of the 2016 EDENS Retail Challenge were Alegria Home and Alex Hudson.

For more information about the EDENS Retail Challenge, please visit For more information about EDENS, visit

About EDENS:
EDENS develops, owns and operates community shopping centers in primary markets across the country. Focusing on innovative development and redevelopment together with key acquisitions in urban areas, the company has built an institutional-quality portfolio of 136 retail centers. EDENS has regional headquarters in Boston, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Miami, Houston and Columbia, SC. For additional information about the company and its retail real estate portfolio, please visit