Mall Of America offers BIPOC store owners rent-free space for 3 months – WCCO

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A program gives local small businesses a chance to do something big.

Mall of America offers BIPOC store owners rent-free space for three months.

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On the south side of the mall’s second floor, you’ll find Community Commons, with over a dozen small, minority-owned businesses taking their craft to the next level.

From fashion to beauty to delicious delicacies, it’s hard to decide where to start, but we’ve landed at Bernadette Hunter’s Highly Favored Delicacies.

“This is my brand, the pudding with a twist,” Hunter said.

What started out as a Church potluck is now a thriving business.

“Nobody makes strawberry pudding, so I had to create strawberry pudding,” Hunter said. “And we went from there to make strawberries-kiwis, strawberries-bananas, blueberries.”

She’s done farmer’s markets and set up shop outside of the Minnesota State Fair, but that will be her home for the next six months.

(credit: CBS)

“Our motto is, ‘Once you try it you will buy it constantly,'” she said.

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Community Commons is the first step in his dream of one day having his own showcase.

“And I want it to be in every city, you know, nationwide,” Hunter said.

Just down the hall, a former Community Commons company did just that. Urban 29, a luxury streetwear spot owned by Joyce Sanders, is now a permanent fixture at the Mall of America.

“I had no idea what would happen in six months, I was really taking the opportunity,” Sanders said.

When she got the call to join the Commons last fall, it helped her restart her business after her old storefront on Lake Street and Chicago Avenue in south Minneapolis was badly damaged during the unrest. followed the death of George Floyd.

“The Community Commons has been a big help,” Sanders said. “It helped me rebuild my business. To concentrate, and just to rebuild.

At Community Commons, business owners feed off of each other to help make their business dreams come true.

“Seeing young entrepreneurs coming in, that excites me,” Sanders said.

So far, eight Community Commons businesses have rented their own space in the mall.

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Click here for more information on how to be considered for the next round in the spring.


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