Redesign worked with Ethiopian immigrant entrepreneur Worku Mindaye to acquire the former Seward Co-op store at 2111 E Franklin for his growing bakery, Shega Foods, which produces a large share of the injera bread for the wholesale market in the Twin Cities. Using New Market Tax Credits, the building was transformed into a restaurant space which Redesign identified tenants to fill, along with a bakery for Shega to produce injera and a small storefront grocery and café that Shega used to augment its import business.
Ultimately Shega outgrew this space as well, and Redesign partnered with Mindaye to purchase a vacant industrial building at 2610 East 32nd Street. Shega moved their bakery operation into the warehouse of the new building (3140 Snelling Avenue) with the assistance of a $60,000 equipment loan from Redesign’s Hiawatha Revolving Loan Fund program, and ongoing technical support through the buildout process. Redesign converted the remaining 15,000 square feet of industrial space into a multi-tenant campus and recruited Du Nord Craft Spirits, Loving Arms Adult Day Care and Professional PCA.
In the meantime, we recruited Encore Karaoke and Sushi Lounge to take over the existing restaurant space at 2111 E Franklin and repurpose the former bakery as a private-room karaoke operation that could effectively utilize the deep, windowless space.
Our ongoing work with Shega and with Worku Mindaye is an example of the way Redesign works in long-term, intentional relationships within our defined geographic service area to achieve outcomes that support job creation, growth of locally owned businesses, wealth creation for immigrant entrepreneurs, and real estate development at a neighborhood scale.