Minority business

Mpls. nears 1,000 black-owned businesses

Mama Sheila’s restaurant at 38th Street and S. Bloomington Avenue played host to the inaugural gathering Friday that kicked off Black Business Week, the city-sponsored 13-event salute to the nearly 1,000 black-owned businesses in Minneapolis.

The celebration runs through Saturday, July 27, with events for employers, budding entrepreneurs, job seekers and others interested.

Mayor Jacob Frey and City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins will conduct a panel discussion at Mama Sheila’s highlighting black ownership and engagement in restaurant, retail, professional services, manufacturing and other sectors.

“Staying in Minneapolis put us close to a lot of our employees,” Chief Executive Jashan Eison of H & B Elevators, told Frey during a visit this month to H & B’s Northside headquarters and plant. Eishon and his business partner moved the growing company from antiquated space in south Minneapolis and have added employees as the elevator-cab manufacturer has grown over the last five years.

Black Business Week partners include West Broadway Business and Area Coalition, Northside Economic Opportunity Network, Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce, Minneapolis Urban League, Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (University of Minnesota), Northside Job Creation Team, E. Howard Co., WeRow, African American Leadership Forum, Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers and Black Women’s Wealth Alliance.

More information: minneapolisblackbusinessweek.com

Neal St. Anthony

downtown development

Restaurant building sells for $10 million

A century-old building on Nicollet Mall at 9th Street that houses Barrio restaurant has been bought by a Florida family.

The so-called “9s on Nicollet Mall,” which was valued for tax purposes at $4 million by Hennepin County, sold for $10.1 million, according to Harrison Wagenseil, a real estate broker who represented the buyer.

The buyer, a family-run commercial real estate business with holdings in Europe and the southeastern United States, recently sold a “trophy asset” on St. Armands Circle in Sarasota, Fla., and sought geographic diversity in their U.S. portfolio.

“The family liked the trajectory of Nicollet Mall: the forthcoming Gateway project and [9s’] proximity to Target’s headquarters and U.S. Bancorp Center,” Wagenseil said. “More people are living downtown. 9s on Nicollet met all their requirements: solid tenants, strong foot traffic, and it’s just good real estate.”

9s on Nicollet, at 915-927 Nicollet Mall, comprises two buildings that are home to Barrio and Rojo restaurants and other tenants.

Broker Russ McGinty represented the Rush children, now in their 60s, who owned the 9s building that once housed the family’s Rush Bridal, for decades a downtown retail cornerstone.

The family invested about $4 million to upgrade the building several years ago, including a skyway across Nicollet Mall.

The Mexican restaurants report increased patronage since rebuilding of the Nicollet Mall concluded in 2018.

Neal St. Anthony

techstars class

Second class begins for farm-to-fork incubator

The second class in Techstars’ Farm to Fork Accelerator program started last week, Cargill and Ecolab said.

Eleven startups from across the U.S. and as far away as India and Israel were selected to participate in the second annual business accelerator designed specifically for food and agriculture entrepreneurs, with a strong bent toward those that are “tech-enabled.”

Techstars, a Boulder, Colo.-based business development organization, has more than 40 different accelerators around the globe all aimed at kick-starting good ideas through mentorship, while the sponsoring companies are hoping to learn from the younger, nimbler startups.

“Solving the greatest food and sustainability challenges the world faces today requires partnership and fresh, innovative ideas,” Justin Kershaw, Cargill’s chief information officer, said in a prepared statement. “Having the brightest minds in food and ag tech in Cargill and Ecolab’s backyards provides an amazing opportunity to infuse startup energy into our company, while also helping bring critical solutions to scale.”

Ecolab and Cargill are primary backers of the Farm to Fork. This is the second of a planned three classes that run during the summer months, culminating in a demo day in October where the participating companies pitch their concepts during Twin Cities Startup Week.

This year’s class includes Contain, ConverSight, EcoPlant, Food for All, Imago AI, Magic AI, Otrafy, Phood, PurPics, Trackter and Transparent Kitchen.

More details about each company can be found on the Techstars blog.

Kristin painter