Better Futures Minnesota and Habitat for Humanity are opening used building-materials, appliance and fixtures stores within a block of each other on a mile of Minnehaha Avenue S. between 26th and 38th streets that feature retailers peddling used and recycled goods.

Better Futures opened at 26th and Minnehaha and also launched an online e-commerce site for reclaimed building materials. Better Futures, which employs 72 people, most of whom are re-entering the workforce from prison, also provides “deconstruction services” that a Hennepin County official said are cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternatives to demolition. Eighty-five percent of a building is recycled.

“We look at how to minimize construction and demolition waste going to the landfill,” said Paul Kroening, a supervising environmentalist at Hennepin County. “Better Futures is the only one providing deconstruction services, and it works well with employment training and improving lives.”

In 2015, 700 tons of material was recycled or reused, thanks to Better Futures’ deconstruction services. More at:

Habitat for Humanity, which operates a store in New Brighton, on Thursday opens a “ReStore” at 27th and Minnehaha that features new and used building materials, appliances, cabinets, furniture, flooring, lighting, plumbing and hardware. It is donated by individuals, builders, wholesalers and manufacturers. Donated items are resold at up to 70 percent off retail prices.

Sales at the 23,000 square-foot store will go toward increasing the number of modest-income families who help build and buy new and refurbished Habitat houses. The ReStore in New Brighton last year earned $300,000 on sales of more than $900,000, enough to be the primary financial partner on six homes. Donations are tax deductible. Habitat, one of the biggest housing suppliers in the Twin Cities, has partnered with low-income homeowners, volunteers and funders to build or renovate more than 3,000 homes over 30 years. More information at:

Deluxe joins ‘Cleveland Hustles’ with LeBron James to help small businesses

Deluxe Corp., which has diversified over the last decade from check printer to a provider of print and electronic financial documents along with small-business marketing and other services, is doing the “Cleveland Hustles.”

Deluxe is helping out with the new CNBC business show that gives four inner-city Cleveland entrepreneurs the opportunity to realize their entrepreneurial dreams, revitalize a Cleveland neighborhood and add jobs and services in an “underserved neighborhood.”

On “Cleveland Hustles,” airing Wednesday nights, NBA superstar/executive producer LeBron James gives up-and-coming entrepreneurs a shot, with the help of local business leaders. “Being part of ‘Cleveland Hustles’ is really a natural extension of the work Deluxe [does] …,” said Deluxe marketing executive Amanda Brinkman. “We teach small business owners that marketing … can be the difference between success and failure. You do not have to invest a lot of money in marketing, but you have to do it right.”

This fall, Deluxe will release an online series that chronicles efforts to help revitalize the downtown area of Wabash, Ind., the first winner of Deluxe’s Small Business Revolution on Main Street contest. Wabash received a $500,000 award toward its revitalization from Deluxe.

Deluxe and Brinkman will be featured during episode six of “Cleveland Hustles,” airing Sept. 28.

Business leaders are honored for their work with JA to help schoolchildren

Founder Richard Copeland, chairman of Thor Construction and who is moving the 250-employee company to business-hungry north Minneapolis, and Elise Hernandez, founder and CEO of Ideal System Solutions, were inducted into the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame for their business success and community stewardship at the annual dinner of JA of the Upper Midwest on Sept. 15.

Bill Popp, founder-owner of Popp Communications, CEO Inge Thulin of 3M and CEO Scott Wine of Polaris Industries also were inducted.

“We have the unique opportunity to partner students participating in our programs with successful businesspeople to help them better understand and succeed in a global economy,” said CEO Gina Blayney of JA Upper Midwest. “These respected leaders provide local students with inspiration and encouragement to pursue their passions and dreams.”

Last week’s event — attended by 400 business people and supporters of the program — raised funds that will help more than 162,000 schoolchildren in Minnesota, North Dakota and western Wisconsin experience JA programs in their classrooms this school year. More information: