GrowingMinneapolis September: President Obama Visits HIRED, Spotlight on Du Nord Craft Spirits, New & Expanding Businesses and More

Growing Minneapolis: News and information from Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development

September 2014

Upcoming Events

Twin Cities Start-Up Week

September 9-14,  2014

  • The week features a range of events that promote entrepreneurship and the local tech industry. 
  • More information

Accessory Dwelling Unit Community Meetings

Tuesday, Sept. 16
5:00-7:00 p.m.
North Regional Library 
1315 Lowry Avenue N

Wednesday, Sept. 17
7:00-9:00 p.m.
Kenwood Community Center
2101 W Franklin Avenue

More information

Cinema in the Cemetery

Films from another world to benefit Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery. $8 for 1 ticket, $20 for all three. (Kids under 12 free)

2925 Cedar Avenue, Minneapolis

  • September 17, The Blob
  • September 24, Plan 9 From Outer Space
  • October 8, The Thing from Another World
  • More information

Update on North Minneapolis Education and Career Center at 800 West Broadway

Tuesday, Sept. 30
6:00-8:00 p.m.
Capri Theater
2027 West Broadway Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55411

  • Update on development of 800 West Broadway
  • Register

"Rise of the Rest" Tour

October 7, 2014

AOL co-founder Steve Case will host several events at CoCo in downtown Minneapolis and the Varsity Theater including a pitch competition for start-ups.  Case pledges to invest $100K in the winning company. Read more.

Dream It. Do It. Statewide Tour of Manufacturing

October 23-25, 2014

  • Visit manufacturers in your community. 
  • See science, tech, engineering and math in action
  • Learn about in-demand, high-paying jobs in a stable industry
  • Website

New & Expanding Businesses






Free Data Privacy Guide for MN Bizs

A Legal Guide to Privacy and Data Security, a new book offering guidance on a wide variety of privacy and data security laws and how those laws may impact your business, is now available from the Minnesota Department of Economic Development (DEED) and Gray Plant Mooty. The Guide, the product of a collaborative effort between DEED and Gray Plant Mooty, may help you to navigate more easily the complex and unpredictable legal landscape of privacy laws and regulations.

Read more in Minnesota Business

Xcel Energy Addresses Worker Shortage

Xcel Energy is partnering with City of Minneapolis Employment and Training to address their looming qualified worker shortage.

President and CEO Ben Fowke of Xcel Energy estimates that half of his organization’s labor force will retire within the next 10 years. The company’s continued success and growth depends on a workforce with the skill sets to fill those jobs.

Xcel hosted the August 21, 2014 Minneapolis Youth Works provider meeting at their Chestnut Service Center in downtown Minneapolis. Staff and students from Minneapolis non-profits that provide employment and training services, the Hubert H. Humphrey Job Corps and Paladin Academy attended the informational session and tour of the facility.

More events to promote careers with Xcel Energy are in the planning stages.

Contact CPED

612-673-5001 or 311

Staff Directory

Crown Roller Mill
Executive Administration
105 Fifth Avenue South #200
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Public Service Center
Development Services'
Customer Service Center
250 South Fourth Street
(Room 300)
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Map and Parking

City Hall
Business Licensing
350 South 5th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415

President Obama Visits HIRED Project Care Participants


President Obama paid a special visit to an unsuspecting group of HIRED participants during his June trip to Minnesota. ProjectCARE, the focus of his visit, provides customer service training to young mothers on public assistance.

President Obama asked the young women what they’ve learned in class and then told his own story of growing up with a single mother. “We all start in different places,” he shared before encouraging them to continue with their career goals.

ProjectCARE is a collaborative effort funded by the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, State of Minnesota, and Greater Twin Cities United Way Women’s Giving. Additional partners include the Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency and Intermediate School District 287. For information about HIRED’s employment and training programs, call 612-529-3342 or visit website

President Barack Obama visits HIRED, a community-based job training center in Minneapolis, Minn., June 27, 2014 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza).

This photograph is provided by THE WHITE HOUSE as a courtesy and may be printed by the subject(s) in the photograph for personal use only. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not otherwise be reproduced, disseminated or broadcast, without the written permission of the White House Photo Office. This photograph may not be used in any commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Business Spotlight: Du Nord Craft Spirits

Du Nord

Named after the Minnesota state motto “L’Étoile du Nord” or The Star of the North,” Du Nord Craft Spirits is a new Minneapolis distillery owned by husband/wife entrepreneur team Chris and Shanelle Montana.  The pair got the idea for their business in February 2013 when Chris discovered that the taproom law change led by Surly allowed micro distilleries to have tasting rooms too.  Fast forward to May 2014 and their first products were being sold. 

Today, over 200 liquor stores and several restaurants carry their gin and vodka.  A leave of absence from Fredrikson and Byron, a lot of hard work, and some help from Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD), a City of Minneapolis Business Technical Assistance Program provider, helped make it happen.  The MCCD worked with Chris to finalize Du Nord’s business plan and put the pair in touch with Seward Redesign where they were able to borrow $60,000 from the Hiawatha Revolving Loan Fund to purchase equipment. 

Looking back at the last year, both Chris and Shanelle are surprised by how far they came in such a short amount of time.  They credit the support they received from the MCCD, Seward Redesign, and the City as well as the micro distillery community and local food producers.  The Montanas are dedicated to local sourcing; the corn they use comes from Shanelle’s parents’ farm.  Look for Du Nord’s tasting room to open in October as well as the launch of an apple brandy and bourbon to come soon. 

Visit Du Nord Craft Spirits online

900 Attend STEP-UP End of Summer Celebration

STEP-UP Summer Celebration

Nearly 900 STEP-UP employers, interns, and their families packed the Guthrie Theater on August 14 for the annual end of summer STEP-UP Celebration. The event kicked off with drum, dance and spoken word performances by current STEP-UP interns. Mayor Betsy Hodges delivered the welcoming address. She talked about the importance of the summer employment program for Minneapolis young people and pledged continued support for the program. STEP-UP co-chair, founder, and former mayor R.T. Rybak, and co-chair Richard Davis offered congratulatory speeches to the interns and their employers. STEP-UP interns and alumni also stepped into the spotlight to share their experiences and reflect on what they had learned while in the program.  Little Earth of United Tribes and the State of Minnesota received "Employer of the Year awards."  Awards were also presented to four STEP-UP interns and four supervisors for outstanding achievement. The event was sponsored by long-time STEP-UP employers Thrivent Financial and Allianz Life.

Nearly 1,650 Minneapolis young people worked this summer thanks to 230 employers. Since 2004, STEP-UP has provided over 20,000 STEP-UP internships.

STEP-UP website

Businesses Grow in North with Help from Minneapolis Business Technical Assistance Program (B-TAP)

In 2012, the City of Minneapolis launched the Business Technical Assistance Program (B-TAP) to provide business consulting services to new and existing businesses located in Minneapolis. Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON) is one of the City’s providers located in North Minneapolis.

Onyx Cycles, Customized Bikes

Brandon Brown has always been mechanically inclined.  At North High, he was a one man robotics team. So, at 19, it was no surprise that he became interested in designing customized bikes.  Today, Brandon owns Onyx Cycles, a North Minneapolis business that develops customized pedal and motorized bicycles for outreach and promotional activities.

To date, Brandon has been commissioned to create four customized bikes including three for Juxtaposition Arts, and one for Northside Residents Redevelopment Council (NRRC).  The bikes are commissioned for special activities and require Brandon to include features like sound systems, room to carry games and activities, the ability to blow bubbles or glow in the dark based on how they will be used.

Last year, Brandon decided to take his business to the next level.  Through the B-TAP program at NEON, he was able to take entrepreneur training, register his business, and obtain assistance writing a business plan.  He also received assistance developing an Onyx Cycles brand identity. 

While working with NEON, Brandon shared an innovative idea he had for a solar powered bike.  Quickly, NEON realized that he had a unique concept that could be massed produced not only locally, but abroad as well so they worked with Brandon to submit a patent.  At present, the patent is pending, but one day soon, we could see solar Onyx bikes on the street that go 28 miles per hour for up to 30 miles on one charge.

Onyx Cycles

Jamaican Kitchen, Catering Delivered

A native and former restaurateur in Jamaica, Merlene Henry was tired of not being able to find the savory oxtail, spicy jerk chicken, rice and peas, or escovitch fish that she grew up with so she decided that she would make it and serve it herself.  In April, with the help of her daughter Alecia, Merlene launched Jamaican Kitchen.

The catering company is run out Morning Star Church’s commercial kitchen on Friday and Saturday evenings.  To generate business, Merlene placed advertisements on KMOJ radio. That is how NEON heard about them. Soon, Jamaican Kitchen was enrolled in B-TAP where they received assistance with food service licensing, business registration, business banking set-up, branding including: logo design, menu development, social media, and website design (under construction).

Merlene is happy serving customers on the weekend, but would like to have a full service restaurant in the future.  Currently, she has her eye on the empty Golden Plump restaurant space on West Broadway.  For now, you can enjoy one of her authentic plates for around $8 by calling 612.709.4571 on Friday or Saturday and picking it up or requesting delivery. Jamaican Kitchen also provides catering for special events.

Local Youth Visit Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley

Sixteen students from Minneapolis and St. Paul, eight of whom were STEP-UP interns, spent a week at technology camp in Silicon Valley July 13-19, 2014.  There they met with technology professionals from some of the top tech companies and start-ups in the world to learn about technology and the Internet.

The trip was sponsored by Silicon North Stars, a non-profit organization whose mission is to give Minnesota youth the opportunity to imagine exciting careers in technology through experiential learning. Silicon North Stars is the brainchild of Steve and Mary Grove, both Google executives with Minnesota roots.

The week's activities included:

  • Campus visits and talks at Google, Facebook, Apple, Stanford University, TaskRabbit, Indiegogo, the Target Innovation Center, and more
  • A day spent with early-stage startup companies
  • Career coaching and mentorship from technology professionals
  • Team-building activities and group projects
  • A design-thinking workshop at Google
  • A student pitch for their own startup companies

Read full Star Tribune article