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Glaros Undertakes "Humans of Minneapolis" Project with Parks Foundation

Even if you’ve never been to the Big Apple, you’ve probably heard of Humans of New York — the wildly successful, ongoing photo essay that’s touched more than 20 countries and earned millions of social shares.
 
New York City has more than eight million inhabitants from all over the world, but it’s not the only place with a multitude of human-scale stories worth sharing. MSP has its very own analog: Humans of Minneapolis, Minneapolis-based photographer Stephanie Glaros’ often poignant look at the joys, sorrows and oddities of life in the urban North.
 
Glaros started Humans of Minneapolis as an occasional tumblr blog — a useful vehicle for her ample interactive talents. She’s since added a Facebook page and Instagram feed to bring her subjects to a wider audience. Last month, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation announced that Glaros would conduct a “summer-long portrait series profiling visitors to Minneapolis neighborhood parks,” showcased in Humans of Minneapolis’ digital ecosystem and the Park Foundation’s own social properties.
 
According to the Parks Foundation, Glaros will profile 15 park visitors in all. The portrait series aims to draw attention to Minneapolis’ 160-plus parks, which (per the Parks Foundation) attracted more than six million visitors last year. Shortly after the portrait series’ announcement, the Trust for Public Land announced that Minneapolis had once again earned the top spot in its closely watched urban U.S. park system rankings, continuing a dominant run that dates back to the early 2010s.
 
“Stephanie’s series will help us begin to tell the stories of the people who use our parks every day and show the multitude of ways people use and love our Minneapolis parks,” the Parks Foundation said in a release.
 
Some of the stories Glaros captures on the Humans of Minneapolis blog are challenging, to put it mildly. Interviews conducted immediately following Prince’s death were heartbreaking. More recently, she spoke with a young man whose ex-girlfriend’s brother had died violently the previous week; in the interview, he talked openly about his own mortality and agonized about carrying a firearm for protection.
 
It’s not yet clear whether Glaros’ park stories will hew toward the weighty, or whether they’ll focus on the lighter side of summer in MSP. No matter what the next few months bring, Glaros is excited to explore her beloved, snow-less home city and forge new connections with her fellow Minneapolitans.
 
“People are reserved here and they don’t want attention, so it can be a bit of a challenge to draw people out,” she told the Star Tribune in April. “I look at that as a challenge to get real and get outside of our shells and make a connection…[t]here’s something magical about connecting with a complete stranger.”
 
 

YogaFit Embraces "The Internet of Air"

If you’re a regular on the yoga circuit, you know that most studios’ climate-control settings pay little or no mind to accepted indoor heating and cooling conventions. When you walk into your morning vinyasa class, you’re primed to expect a fetid sauna, frost-lined meat locker or something in between—or maybe, as your session progresses, all of the above.
 
Good news, perennially uncomfortable yogis. With help from 75F, an ambitious Minnesota startup that makes responsive, Internet-connected climate control solutions, two Minneapolis YogaFit studios are bringing predictability (and comfort!) back to the yoga routine.
 
The studios, in Northeast and Linden Hills, tapped 75F to remedy years of HVAC frustration. Each studio operates 24/7, with a mix of class and open studio time, and attendance varies widely from hour to hour. During cold-season peak periods, attendees’ body heat is often sufficient to heat each studio with little to no assistance from the HVAC system. When attendance is sparse, passive heating can’t keep things comfortable. The inverse (or nearly so) is true during the warm season: heavily attended sessions require nonstop AC on full blast, while unoccupied studios require little to no climate control.
 
Needless to say, the studios’ multiple non-programmable digital thermostats simply couldn’t manage this constantly shifting demand. According to a 75F case study, studio temperatures ranged anywhere from 73 to 90 degrees on a typical day. Instructors would arrive 30 to 45 minutes early to set the proper temperature for each class, and had zero control over the studios’ temperature during unoccupied periods.
 
75F’s solution was seamless and elegant: unlike typical programmable thermostats, its multi-zone thermostats integrated directly with the studios’ scheduling software, empowering instructors to set comfortable class and open studio temperatures days in advance. And the system’s detailed analytics enabled management to track temperature changes (and anomalies) in near real time. The result: more comfortable studio environments, and more relaxed instructors, around the clock.
 
“We needed a partner, and a solution, that could react to our business—not the other way around,” says Ashok Dhariwal, YogaFit’s Minneapolis franchisee. “75F delivered a customized solution based on our business needs, [implemented] it very fas  and has supported us every step of the way.”
 
75F’s smart climate control systems are also suitable for restaurants, retail outlets and offices of virtually any size. According to 75F’s website, the technology reduces customers’ heating and cooling costs by up to 40 percent.
 

Artist Cindy Lindgren debuts City of Lakes fabric line

Prolific MSP artist Cindy Lindgren is teaming up with Modern Yardage, a digital fabric printing company, to launch a Minneapolis-centric fabric line called “City of Lakes.” Lindgren debuted City of Lakes this May at the International Quilt Market, a national trade show. The fabrics feature iconic Minneapolis images, including Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles and Lake Harriet, plus the downtown skyline, Uptown theater marquee, bikes and Nordic skis.
 
“City of Lakes is my tribute to the wonderful chain of lakes and all the activities we love to participate in, whether it's music, nature or biking,” Lindgren explains.
 
The City of Lakes concept could soon go national. “[City of Lakes] got a lot of attention” at the International Quilt Market, says Lindgren. She’s already been approached by several other U.S. cities about custom-designed hometown fabric lines. She plans to finish work on her first two non-MSP city lines — Appleton, Wisconsin, and Watkins Glen, New York — in the coming months, with an eye to snagging additional clients and selling her work in local stores.
 
For now, Lindgren is throwing her multi-pronged marketing operation behind City of Lakes. She sells the fabrics themselves through Modern Yardage, her preferred fabric production partner. “Modern Yardage prints fabric on demand, so it can offer niche themes to their customers,” she says, giving “designers...a lot of freedom to create unique designs not offered by other large fabric companies.”
 
Lindgren sells City of Lakes prints and cards at her personal Etsy shop and “various gift shops and stores around MSP,” including The Minnesota History Center, Bibelot, The University of Minnesota Book Store and The Como Conservatory. Suburban outposts, such as the Mall of America’s Afternoon Store and Edina’s West Elm outlet, offer Lindgren’s work as well.
 
Lindgren also maintains a fruitful collaborative relationship with The Linden Tree, a specialty fabric shop and creative hub in Linden Hills. Linden Tree staffers consulted closely with Lindgren during the City of Lakes project’s design phase, produced prototype samples and reserved ample shelf space for the finished products.
 
Though MSP will always be City of Lakes fabrics’ natural home, Lindgren is actively seeking licensing partnerships with printers, retailers and apparel-makers in Minnesota and beyond. Current licensees include Great Arrow Graphics, Check Advantage (a personal check printer) and Janome (pending).
 
Lindgren describes her artistic style as “Craftsman Nouveau,” which include such stylistic hallmarks as “rich color palettes” and clean lines.
 
“My inspiration comes from William Morris, Frank Lloyd Wright and the WPA-era posters,” says Lindgren. “I'm also influenced by my midwestern upbringing and choose to illustrate the places, plants, flowers and birds around me.”
 
 

Gardening Matters empowers growers

Gardening Matters, a community gardening nonprofit based in South Minneapolis, is putting on an MSP-wide seed and plant distribution event Saturday, May 16, at three locations around town: St. Olaf Lutheran Church in North Minneapolis, Waite House in South Minneapolis and Great River School in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood.
 
The organization’s members can choose from three packages. Per Gardening Matters’ website, a Small Garden Package contains 12 seed packs and 12 seedlings, enough for a container garden, small plot or raised bed. With 20 seed packs and 20 seedlings, a Medium Garden Package is sufficient for a 12’ x 12’ backyard garden or community plot. A Large Garden Package, brimming with 40 seed packs and 72 seedlings, is ideal for a “very large” backyard garden or larger community garden plot.
 
Each package comes with a suggested membership fee, calculated at a significant discount to the seeds’ and plants’ retail value. Members can further defray their packages’ cost by participating in Gardening Matters’ work-share program, which requires at least one annual volunteer stint at a Gardening Matters event.
 
With snacks, kid-friendly outdoor activities and live music, each May 16 distribution hub will double as a “pop-up celebration of spring,” says Susan Phillips, Gardening Matters’ executive director — a great kick-off to the growing season after a long winter hibernation.
 
“Broadly speaking, Gardening Matters’ mission is to support MSP residents who want to grow their own food, either as part of a community garden or in their own backyards, while building connections and facilitating knowledge-sharing among its members,” says Phillips.
 
This mission is gaining traction by the month. The three May 16 distribution locations are just three of about 10 Food Resource Hubs across MSP: three in St. Paul and seven in Minneapolis, up from none in St. Paul and just three in Minneapolis when Gardening Matters launched the Food Resource Hubs program in 2011. Collectively, Food Resource Hubs serve 3,000 adult members and 3,000 kids, with about 20 urban acres under cultivation as a direct result of members’ activities.
 
(Incidentally, Gardening Matters is likely to rename the Food Resource Hubs program soon due to a conflict with an unrelated but similarly named federal program.)
 
Although Gardening Matters still plays a critical role in overseeing and organizing each hub, the organization ultimately aims for hubs to be semi-autonomous and largely self-sustaining. “Each of our hubs has a unique mix of members and a unique culture,” explains Phillips.
 
Gardening Matters’ hubs also serve as a focal point for education and leadership training, both critical to fostering self-sustaining networks — not to mention good gardening practices. Founded to support cooperation among community gardeners, the group’s community-building power isn’t to be underestimated: Phillips recounts the story of a Gardening Matters-affiliated North Minneapolis community garden whose members cooperated to clean up a blighted, drug-ridden property on their block.
 
Thanks to the connections the neighbors built in the garden, says Phillips, “they were empowered to tackle bigger issues in their community.”
 
Phillips is turning Gardening Matters into a force for advocacy and city-wide change, too. “Land tenure is a huge issue right now,” she says, noting that many MSP community gardens have long waiting lists. This year, Gardening Matters is launching a major push to empower renters who don’t have access to suitable outdoor plots. Container gardens, which can easily fit on porches or even windowsills, are viable solutions for thousands of land-poor urban gardeners; the challenge is educating people about how to properly set up and care for them.
 
Phillips is also spearheading educational programs and outreach initiatives targeting immigrant communities, particularly Latino and Hmong groups, whose first-generation members have prior agricultural experience but aren’t aware of the urban gardening resources available in their adopted city.
 
“In everything Gardening Matters does, the goal is to expand the number of [MSP residents] who feel empowered to grow their own food,” says Phillips.
 
 

Man Cave Meats introduces craft brats and burgers

Man Cave Meats, a rapidly growing Minneapolis startup founded by a recent University of Minnesota grad and his brother, aims to do for burgers and brats what Summit and Surly have done for beer. The company sells “craft meat” processed and prepared in small batches from high-quality regional (the pork comes from Iowa and the beef from Nebraska) ingredients.
 
From its first 20 grocery store accounts in November 2013, Man Cave has grown to around 200 individual accounts, mostly in the Twin Cities, greater Minnesota and North Dakota. Locally, the company deals with homegrown grocers like Lunds, Byerly's, Kowalski’s and some Cub Foods outlets. In its ever-popular beer brats, Man Cave incorporates a hyper-local ingredient: Summit Pilsener.
 
“You can smell the beer when you cook our beer brats,” says Man Cave marketing coordinator Jessica Hughes.
 
Man Cave’s goal, Hughes says, is simple: to produce flavorful, high-quality and responsibly sourced meat products that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Everything but the initial butchering and processing, which needs to be done at a specialized plant, happens at Man Cave’s Twin Cities production facility. Unlike larger producers, Man Cave exclusively uses pork shoulder in its brats. Pork shoulder is a relatively lean (80/20) and flavorful cut of meat, and a far cry from the fatty cuts used in mass-produced sausages.
 
Man Cave also hires locally. About half the full-time staff hails from the U of M or the University of St. Thomas, and most referrals come via word of mouth. During the warm season, when Man Cave’s business picks up, the company retains 20 to 30 part-timers to do grocery store demos and to staff booths at outdoor events, like minor league baseball games, 5K runs and street festivals.
 
“We’re taking a page right out of the craft beer playbook,” says Hughes, citing local beer festivals like the Summer Beer Dabbler as inspiration for Man Cave’s outdoorsy promotional events. Hands-on demonstrations, preferably outdoors, are in the company’s DNA: As a U of M sophomore, co-founder Nick Beste promoted the nascent Man Cave with backyard grilling events at which guests (and passers-by) sampled brats and socialized.
 
Early on, the Bestes also secured a stall at the Mill City Farmers Market. “That really got us off the ground,” says Hughes. Until last year, the bulk of the company’s sales came from on-site purchases at the farmers market and the occasional backyard party.
 
But Man Cave has outgrown its roots. Its exponential growth in the past year is exciting for the company’s nine or 10 full-timers, some of whom started out as part-timers. Finding new markets is exciting as well: Thanks to its growing, affluent and heavily male population, Williston, North Dakota—the epicenter of the shale oil boom—is Man Cave’s most promising market outside of the Twin Cities, says Hughes.
 
Challenges do remain. With a tight focus on Angus burgers and flavored brats, Man Cave’s product line is heavy on the grillables. But the company has grown to the point where it needs a strong revenue stream all year long, says Hughes, so the team has redoubled its efforts to identify “winter-friendly craft meats.” One such item is Man Cave’s mini-brats. “They’re about a quarter the size of our regular brats and come in packs of 15,” says Hughes, “so they’re perfect for pigs-in-blankets and can easily be cooked in any oven.”
 
The company is also looking to introduce a new line of bacon. “It can’t just be your standard slice of bacon,” says Hughes. “It needs to uphold that craft theme.” Further down the road, locally sourced chicken and turkey sausage could make their way into the inventory, especially in health-conscious markets like Minneapolis and St. Paul. And the company is focused on fleshing out its online store as well.
 
But for now, Hughes and the Man Cave team are just happy to be part of an ambitious startup that’s putting the Twin Cities back on the butchery map—and, hopefully, making it possible for people everywhere to pair their craft beer with a craft brat or burger.
 

Crux Collaborative and the power of rebranding

Crux Collaborative, a user-experience consulting firm based in the southwest Minneapolis, is dramatically changing its approach to business, staff and clients as part of a bold rebranding effort.

During the past year, the firm formerly known as Eaton Golden has adopted a flatter management model, a more collaborative approach to internal problem-solving, and a culture of “trust and even friendship” between clients and employees, says co-principal Mahtab Rezai. She calls the experience overwhelmingly positive, with new clients and new staffers energized—and surprised—by Crux’s highly personal, yet results-driven, approach to its work.

Recently, says Rezai, an increasingly tech-savvy population and a growing volume of digital points of customer-vendor contact created a “sea change” in user experience best practices, from a proscriptive, top-down approach to a more user-friendly, even nurturing one.

“Almost everything we do now is complex and interrelated,” she says, including how we access and communicate information. Crux specializes in improving user experiences for “complex, data-driven, transactional experiences,” Rezai says, which “aren’t optional and haven’t historically provided a lot of choice to the user.”

Ultimately, the goal is to render these experiences—like using a health exchange, executing online financial transactions and accessing employee benefits—more “humane,” making it easier and more natural for people to complete essential, boring tasks in the digital space.

Rebranding has helped Eaton Golden/Crux Collaborative process and take advantage of this shift. Sadly, a tragedy accelerated the process.

In early 2011, principals Emily Eaton and John Golden lost their young son to cancer. Rezai, a former colleague of Golden’s who was already in talks to take a new role with the company, immediately took over day-to-day management of the firm while the parents grieved. Eaton eventually sold her interest to Rezai and left the company completely to write a book about coping with grief.

Rezai still has her operational role. Golden and Rezai are now equal partners. But Crux is no longer “two leads plus a support staff,” says Rezai. Nearly every important decision, including the company’s new name, arises through consultations with rank-and-file staffers. In a larger company, this might produce friction, but Crux is small enough to function as a single team.

So far, the experience has been transformative. Even experienced employees had never seen a rebrand go so smoothly. Morale has spiked. Clients are happy, too: Crux just posted the strongest first quarter in its 10-year history. Last year, with the transition in full swing, the company made Minnesota Business Magazine’s “Top 100 Businesses to Work For” list, a major achievement.

Will Crux’s new approach to business translate into a bigger workforce and a national client pool? For now, Rezai is cautious about such plans.

“Growth is not our objective,” she says. “Excellence is.”

The company has eight full-timers, with room for just a handful more. And since it doesn’t have a business development division or send out RFPs—“We’ve found that they’re a waste of our time”—the firm relies on word of mouth to attract new clients. Crux is picky about accepting new work, essentially “prequalifying” clients before pitching or consulting with them.
“The ability to judiciously say ‘no’ has taught us how to say ‘yes’ when it’s clearly right,” says Rezai.

By choice, Crux also focuses on companies in the banking/finance, medical device, health insurance and benefits administration subsectors—niches heavily represented by Twin Cities businesses. As Rezai puts it, “we stick to what we’re good at.”

 

One Day on Earth gathers Twin Cities stories

Got big plans for April 26? Lu Lippold, the local producer for One Day on Earth’s “One Day in the Twin Cities,” has a suggestion: Grab whatever video recording device you can—cameraphones included—and record the audio-visual pulse of your neighborhood.

On the final Saturday of April, the Twin Cities and 10 other U.S. metros will host the fourth installment of One Day on Earth’s celebration of film, culture, and all-around placemaking. Founded by Los Angeles-based film producers Kyle Ruddick and Brandon Litman, One Day on Earth (ODOE) has a “goal of creating a unique worldwide media event where thousands of participants would simultaneously film over a 24-hour period,” according to its website.

The first event took place on October 10, 2010 (10-10-10); 11-11-11 and 12-12-12 followed. ODOE skipped 2013, but its organizers weren’t about to wait until 2101 for their next shot. Instead, they selected a spring Saturday—both to accommodate amateur filmmakers with 9-to-5 jobs, and to give participants in the Northern Hemisphere longer daylight hours to work with—for a bigger, bolder, slightly revamped version of the event.

For the first time, participants get 10 questions to inspire their creativity and guide their storytelling, from “What is the best thing happening in your city today?” to “Who is your city not serving?” The goal is to create a multi-frame snapshot of “cities in progress,” one that doesn’t simply answer the who-what-where of the places it covers.

As One Day in the Twin Cities’ point person, Lippold supervises local filmmakers and pitched the project to dozens of partner organizations, including the Science Museum of Minnesota and Springboard for the Arts to visual media companies like Cinequipt and Vimeo. (The McKnight Foundation and the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative are the largest local sponsors.)

The upside? “[The event] is a great way to shine a light on all the hard work that our nonprofit community does,” says Lippold.

Lippold also works with a handful of local ambassadors, some of whom enjoy national acclaim. These include noted cinematographer Jeff Stonehouse, veteran documentarian Matt Ehling, and community-focused filmmaker D.A. Bullock. They’ll be contributing their talents—and stature—to One Day in the Twin Cities’ promotion and execution.

One Day in the Twin Cities could be seen well beyond Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Along with their counterparts from other participating cities, local filmmakers may see their work incorporated into a condensed, three-part series that Litman and Lichtbau will market to PBS affiliates around the country. No word on whether TPT will air the special, but TPT Rewire has agreed to publicize the event in the coming weeks.

The real stars of One Day in the Twin Cities, though, are its filmmakers. Even if you’ve never filmed anything in your life, says Lippold, you can contribute meaningful work. Thanks to an interactive map feature on ODOE’s main site, the work will visible to anyone who visits.

“If I were just starting out in video, I would see this as a huge opportunity,” says Lippold. Since all contributions are credited by name and location, each participant “instantly becomes a documentary filmmaker,” she adds.

Source: Lu Lippold
Writer: Brian Martucci


Truhealth MD: a delicious "therapeutic intervention"

Patients at risk for heart disease know they need to eat better, but cooking nutritious meals is time-consuming. Also, truly beneficial foods often don’t taste very good unless they’re well prepared. According to Dr. Elizabeth Klodas, a practicing cardiologist, her new company Truhealth MD aims to solve both issues.

Truhealth MD is a Minneapolis company whose four employees manufacture and market its line of health food products. The company’s offerings include heart-healthy pancakes, oatmeal, bars, smoothie mixes, and “anytime sprinkles”—fiber-rich flakes that mix well with yogurt, fruit, and granola.

“[In large part], heart disease is a nutrition-related problem,” says Dr. Klodas. After 18 years as a cardiologist, she’s identified four common nutrients that at-risk patients often lack: antioxidants, omega-3 acids, fiber and phytosterols, a broad class of steroid that may lower “bad” cholesterol.

The trick, she says, is “supplying clinically meaningful amounts of these nutrients in a delicious package…and turn every meal into a therapeutic intervention.” While other “healthy” foods, like FiberOne cereal and Clif bars, may contain sufficient doses of fiber and omega-3 acids, few contain significant quantities of phytosterols. This is largely an issue of ingredient cost, says Klodas, and it’s a major point of distinction for her products.

Meanwhile, the taste issue basically solves itself. “We tend to forget that real, wholesome, nutritious foods actually taste good,” says Dr. Klodas. 

Many of the company’s customers report impressive reductions in their LDL and triglyceride readings within weeks of beginning a twice-a-day regimen.

Robert Kirscht, a Twin Cities-based sales director in his late 40s, is a typical case. Kirscht’s job duties—“I’m traveling and entertaining clients about half the time,” he says—make it difficult to eat right or exercise regularly. A family history of heart disease doesn’t help either. Last spring, his longtime physician confronted him with an especially bleak blood-work report and issued an ultimatum: Take a cholesterol-lowering statin drug or else.

“I wasn’t comfortable with that choice,” says Kirscht. “So I asked for 30 days.” He started using Truhealth’s products—“I usually sprinkle the ‘anytime flakes’ on my granola [in the morning] and have a cranberry or chocolate bar in the afternoon,” he says—and began to feel better almost immediately.

When he returned the next month for a round of follow-up tests, Kirscht’s doctor was thoroughly impressed. Among the highlights: his triglyceride reading dropped from 150 to 99, his LDL dropped from 155 to 118, and his HDL rose from 45 to 53. The only drawback, he says, is that he has to hide his “delicious” stash from his two teenage daughters.

Truhealth MD’s products aren’t endorsed by the FDA, and Dr. Klodas stresses that they’re just one component of a healthy lifestyle—albeit a powerful one.

Patients who truly commit to cooking heart-healthy meals, exercising regularly, and making other smart choices, says Dr. Klodas, may see even better results than Truhealth’s meal-replacement regimen can promise. “But those people are rare,” she adds. “[Our products] make dietary advice actionable…and help our customers think about what other lifestyle decisions they might be making.”

What types of decisions? Consider a hypothetical customer who, every day for a solid year, replaces a plain bagel and Snickers bar with single servings of Truhealth pancakes and chocolate bars. To absorb comparable amounts of phytosterols and antioxidants, said customer would need to consume a ton of broccoli and 150 pounds of kale over the same period. For many, that’s not an appetizing prospect.

After all, says Dr. Klodas, “Who wants to eat 150 pounds of kale?”

Source: Dr. Elizabeth Klodas, Truhealth MD
Writer: Brian Martucci

Zero-waste Bread and Pickle latest of Kim Bartmann's new restaurant endeavors

"The best burger I've had in quite a long time" is usually a good recommendation, especially when it comes from a local restaurateur with several lauded restaurants and counting.

The source is Kim Bartmann, owner of Barbette, Red Stag Supper Club and Bryant Lake Bowl, and the subject is the grass-fed, "limousine beef" burger at Bread and Pickle, Bartmann's new incarnation of the concession stand near the Lake Harriet bandshell. After a soft opening last week, the reborn refectory is poised to serve the summertime crowds at the lake.

It's pretty busy down there," says Bartmann. "We are thinking of it as a [Bastille Day] block party a few times a week. We feel like we've done it before, just not in a fixed, night-after-night setting."

Bread and Pickle will sell "simple offerings," says Bartmann burgers, fries, sandwiches, pasta salads, potato salads, as well as breakfast foods like espresso, egg sandwiches, granola and yogurt from 711 a.m. And of course there is still ice cream, from local favorites Sonny's and Izzy's.

Like at her other restaurants, the fare will be "focused on as much organic, local product as possible," says Bartmann.

One thing that won't be available at Bread and Pickle: waste. "Everything that comes out is compostable," she says, in new compost stations installed by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (Park Board), an effort Bartmann called a "beta-test for zero-waste in the Park Board system."

The composting was in response to the Park Board's request for proposals, which called for sustainability practices that Bartmann new would give her a leg up on the competition. "We do that at all the other restaurants, and at the [Bastille Day] block party," she says.

Even water comes in a sustainable container: stainless-steel water bottles at plastic-bottle prices. Visitors can refill them at a water-filling station, installed by the Park Board, which have counters to see how may times it gets used.

Bread and Pickle will be open until 9 p.m. in the evening, possibly later for busier concerts, says Bartmann.

The refectory is not her only recent project, however. She is planning a remodel and revamped menu at Gigi's, near 36th Street South and Bryant Avenue, which Bartmann took over last November. Prep kitchens and extra cooler space there as support the Bread and Pickle operation.

In the early summer, Bartmann expects to unveil Pat's Tap at the old Casey's location on 35th Street South and Nicollet Avenue. She described the LEED-targeted project as "a little gastro-pub with a few skee ball machines." 

Minneapolis marks 1,000th low-interest loan to small business

A revolving, low-interest loan program by the city of Minneapolis recently marked its 1,000th loan to a small business in the city.

City officials celebrated the milestone last week with an event at the Blackbird Cafe. The restaurant was the recipient of the 1,000th loan.

"These are the right investments for government to make--and now more than ever, this is the right time to do it," said Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.

The investments consist of 10-year, 2-percent interest rate loans, which must be matched at least dollar-for-dollar by loans from private lenders. "It's definitely a way to encourage banks to not turn off the spigot, to keep the funds flowing," says Bob Lind, the city's director of business finance.

Since the program started in 1988, it's made 1,000 loans totaling $28 million, and leveraged another $87 million in private investment. The city estimates the program has helped create more than 2,000 jobs and retain another 9,300. The average loan size is $25,000, and more than 97 percent have been fully repaid.

The Blackbird Cafe used a $75,000 loan from the program to relocate after a Feb. 18 fire destroyed its previous home at W. 50th St. and Bryant Ave. S. Owners Gail Mollner and Chris Stevens hosted last week's event at their new location at 3800 Nicollet Ave.

"The whole idea was to get that investment and make sure those commercial corners and commercial nodes continue to  thrive, continue to look good, continue to be occupied," says Lind.

In addition to the mayor, speakers included Robert Stephens, founder of the Geek Squad, which received financing through the program in 1998.

Source: Bob Lind, City of Minneapolis
Writer: Dan Haugen
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