Midtown Business Association Meeting 3/17/15

Meeting Notice
    Midtown Business Association
    Tuesday, March 17, 2015
    Noon at the Sheraton Hotel, 2901 Chicago Ave. S.

Minutes from February 17, 2115 meeting:

After everybody had introduced themselves, Don asked Baba if the Produce Exchange had changed ownership or management.  Baba said that the ownership is still the same, but the three original employees are gone and a new manager has been hired.  The earlier manager had been more concerned about quality and the new manager is more concerned about affordable prices and bulky produce.  Some customers are happy about the changes and other customers are unhappy.  He also reported that some religious people noticed that City Pages was available for free at Mapps Coffee and wanted City Pages banned because they thought it was not compatible with the “family friendly” approach of the Global Marketplace.  He said that The Rabbit Hole is very busy in the evenings, but has stopped serving lunch.  Most places in the Global Marketplace reported January sales up from the same month the last couple of years.  Annual sales for Global Marketplace has been increasing every year.  People from other cities have been studying how Global Marketplace has been functioning.
March 24 there will be a craft fair at the Global Marketplace, with about 70 venders signed up for it so far–venders who usually come to the fall craft fair.
Julie talked about the Lake St. Council Annual Meeting on Thursday, March 19.
The Sheraton has been very busy, both during the week and on weekends.
There was discussion of security problems in the area, including truckers cruising for prostitutes along Lake St.
Sunrise Bank’s last day at Bloomington-Lake will be March 31.  They are trying to sell the building, but don’t know what will replace them.  They are contacting customers and trying to get the customers to switch to other Sunrise Bank locations.
There were good recommendations for Café Royale at Bloomington-Lake.  Lots of Somali customers eat there, but the menu is not particularly ethnic.  Julie thought we should build up an e-mail list to send out information about new businesses, special events, and special sales at long-term businesses, etc.
There was discussion of the attempt to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.  Don said that if it passes, there will be a lot of empty store fronts in Minneapolis because of businesses either closing down or moving to St. Paul, Bloomington, St. Louis Park, etc.  He said that a science fiction bookstore in San Francisco will be closing at the end of next month because of the vote to raise the minimum wage to $15 in San Francisco.  The same people own both the bookstore and a café next door in San Francisco, and they will keep the café open because they figure they can raise their prices to cover the higher overhead, and all of their competition will also be raising their prices.  But the bookstore will have to close because the books come from the publishers with the prices already printed on them, so they will have no way to raise prices to cover the higher cost of operating.  The discussion then went on to cover the unfair competition from internet sellers who don’t have to charge sales tax, while brick-and-mortar stores do have to charge sales tax.

Don Blyly            Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore
Matt Truskolaski        Sheraton
Baba Letant            Global Marketplace
Julie Ingebretsen        Ingebretsens
Dave Burrill            Midtown
Barbara Johnson        Sunrise Banks

 Midtown Business Association
    Next Meeting Tuesday, April 21, 2015