• May 31, 2019 1:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thank you to all the owners who joined us for our meeting with City officials regarding business inspections. We had great discussion with leadership and shared our concerns regarding current practices.

    This is the first step in building a stronger relationship with city departments that perform business inspections. The goal is to build a foundation of trust and openness in order to improve the process and outcome for both our businesses, the city, and the public as a whole.

    Of particular interest was that fact that Health Inspection Supervisors noted that a business can request an inspector to come back later in the week if they stop by at a particularly difficult time. A perfect example of being in the middle of butchering a whole pig when the inspector arrives came up, as it is counter-productive to leave the work sit while walking through with the inspector.

    Additionally, many business owners were not aware that they are not required to walk with the inspector on their walkthrough, although the practice is encouraged as many issues can be addressed on the spot or the inspector can offer education and suggestions to prevent future issues.

    If you encounter a situation relating to an inspection (fire, health, etc.) that you feel needs to be addressed, please reach out to the Regulatory Affairs Committee for review. The group has helped on an as needed basis with inspection requests, and uses these situations to determine key areas to seek improvements in the city process.

  • May 31, 2019 1:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We've received very strong responses to our notice that another round of Facade Grant funding is available. Wait much longer and you might be on the waiting list instead of in the initial group of recipients. Find more information on our grants in our resources section:

    Facade Grants

  • May 31, 2019 1:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In addition to the Advocacy, Marketing, Networking and Education services SWBA offers, the association also seeks out member-exclusive discounts and benefits to help you reduce costs and retain employees. 

    Over the past year, the association has added exclusive discounts at Office Depot, Adobe Software, and Hotel & Entertainment offerings. We are very excited to announce that this summer we're added exclusive access to a suite of supplemental insurance benefits that can save you and your business and provide you access to options not accessible on your own! 

    This means that even single-operator businesses will have access to insurance benefits that can save you money and time throughout the year. Whether you're on a spousal plan with a high-deductible, or are struggling to find a way to get an edge on your competitors for employee retention, there is likely to be something in this package that will fit your needs to a T. Packages are customized for each member business, and can be implemented with minimal to no additional cost to you as the business owner. 

    Coverage options include (but are not limited to) Dental, Vision, 24/7 Online Doctor Network, Accident & Injury, Short-Term Disability and so much more.

    Please contact our Coordinator Jessica Reinhardt if you would like to learn more about this new benefit. Details will be available soon!

    Log-In to Visit our Benefits Page to Access Your Benefits Now!

  • May 31, 2019 1:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Business throughout Southwest has been impacted by the 35W construction project, and there is still a long way to go. With the 35th and 36th St ramps closed, traffic has intensified along Nicollet, and customers not living in the immediate area have been more prone to avoid a visit. 

    Original plans would have permanently closed the 46th St ramps for a year on top of the closures 10 blocks north. Thankfully, the planners on the 35W project have been responsive to communication, and will now only be closing 46th ramps sporadically as needed - and likely over night and weekend timing when traffic is generally lighter.

    SWBA is in contact with the project planners. If you have a specific concern that the construction crews can address, please reach out to us, or directly to the MNDot staff. We'll do our best to help you.

    Image result for 35w construction

  • May 31, 2019 1:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Annual Meeting attendees had the pleasure of meeting and hearing from our newest Inspector at the 5th Precinct, Amelia Huffman. Inspector Huffman shared Precinct priorities and took questions from the audience, learning about some of the more pressing concerns from the business community. We look forward to a good working relationship with our new Inspector in the time to come. If you have a concern, please let the SWBA know as well as the precinct as we help monitor, notify and address crime and safety issues impacting our businesses through our Regulatory Affairs Committee.

    5th Precinct Inspector Amelia Huffman

  • May 31, 2019 12:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Southwest Business Association strives to enhance community through the power of our small businesses. Strong healthy businesses provide our community with stable job opportunities, lively community connection venues, and greatly impact the identity of our neighborhoods. With this in mind, the Southwest Business Association is proud to announce that we have put together an awards program to recognize business leaders in our community who are focused on these goals and are actively improving our communities.

    Business owners, their employees, members of the community and business patrons were invited to nominate business owners for Minority Business Owner of the Year, Woman Business Owner of the Year and Business Owner of the Year for businesses within the boundaries of the Southwest Business Association (South of 31st Street and West of 35W within Minneapolis city limits). Businesses must operate for a minimum of 3 years for eligibility. Criteria includes demonstration of business strength and growth, and examples of an owners ability to navigate and succeed in the face of adversity. In addition, applicants must demonstrate commitment to community service.

    George & the Dragon Owner Fred Navarro with SWBA Board Member Tom Meckey

    2019 Minority Business Owner of the Year:
    Fredrico Navarro, George & the Dragon

    When the building at 50th & Bryant went up in smoke, a little piece of Lynnhurst died – losing two great restaurants. Fred knew just what the neighborhood needed though, and together with his wife, he brought a perfect neighborhood gathering spot with staying power to the neighborhood. Never one to brag, you won’t hear Fred boasting about his charitable activities, but the Navarros always have some program in the works, from supporting local food shelters to encouraging local elementary kids to read with generous gift certificate donations to every child who meets their reading goal. George & the Dragon stands out from the crowd with its consistently good food and service, and that Cheers feel with Fred and his staff able to greet most guests by name. Long after the buzz of being the new restaurant on the block has worn off, George and the Dragon has remained a favorite gathering place for the community – remaining full during the lunch and dinner rushes any day of the week. The Navarros demonstrate great leadership with knowledgeable, friendly, timely and long-term staff, and smart accessible food choices that continue to bring customers in. Their success anchors the corner of 50th and Bryant and keeps it a busy corner for their neighboring businesses.

    Board Member Molly Broder with Award Winner Naomi Strom of Lake Harriet Florist

    2019 Woman Business Owner of the Year:
    Naomi Strom, Lake Harriet Florist

    Taking on the little flower shop at 50th & Penn was a second career for owner Naomi Strom. In just a few short years, she has taken a business that was barely recognized to one that is growing exponentially and receiving recognition around the country. While they are a full-service shop, growing traffic from the wedding market has been a huge component to the shop’s new success. Under Naomi’s leadership, the shop has been recognized as “The Best of the Knot” for the past three consecutive years. The shop also took full advantage of the Super Bowl being in town to build relationships with visiting celebrities, leading to continued contracts for appearances and performances in the Twin Cities. Growing from a mom and daughter operation, the shop now employs an additional 3 staff and has a host of contract workers to help in the busy seasons. Naomi regularly supports local educational and religious organizations through in-kind donations for their events and activities. Anyone who      knows Naomi can tell you that a large part of the Lake Harriet Florist success is her strong ability to quickly build meaningful relationships with a wide range of personalities from within our community and beyond.

    Award Winner Sarah Longacre of Blooma with Award Winner Fred Navarro of George & The Dragon

    2019 Business Owner of the Year:
    Sarah Longacre, Blooma

    Sarah Longacre set out to create a business that meets community at the start – with expectant and new moms. These members of our community are at a point in life where they are experiencing major life changes, and it can often be a time of isolation from regular routines and interactions with a large learning curve. Blooma entered the world to provide these critical members of our community a place to gather, learn together and build a tight-knit community of mentally and physically fit families. Her passion to help mothers doesn’t end with interactions at Blooma. Sarah uses her skills and success in business to regularly support organizations with similar missions at home and around the world. Stop by the Boulevard building as a class is wrapping up, and you’ll see the large success this format is. Under Sarah’s vision and leadership in just over a decade, Blooma has grown from one location and a staff of 15 to 3 metro locations and a staff of 65 with a franchise in Nashville and another in Mexico City!

    SWBA works to strengthen the relationship between businesses and the local community, serves as an advocate for business owners, and has the ultimate goal of creating a strong and healthy Southwest Minneapolis. We commend these business owners for their leadership and commitment to strong community in Minneapolis. We look forward to recognizing businesses in expanded categories as this new awards program recognition grows.

  • May 31, 2019 12:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Leadership and members attending the Annual Meeting on Tuesday, May 21st voted in the recommended slate of directors which includes incumbents Matt Perry, Molly Broder, Roger Worm, Lonnie McQuirter, Tom Meckey, and Whitney Emanuel. Joining our six incumbents is newcomer Naomi Strom of Lake Harriet Florist.

    Naomi Strom |
    Lake Harriet Florist

    Naomi brings a wealth of start-up entrepreneurship experience to the Board. Taking ownership of the little-known florist shop at 50th & Penn, Naomi has quickly grown the business to one with national recognition. Her regional connections, strategic planning experience, and results oriented drive are a true asset to the association.

  • May 31, 2019 12:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Each year, the association hosts an annual meeting in May to bring the general membership together to discuss the future of the organization and elect our leaders. This year, the meeting was held at the beautiful new event space, Harriet Place at 46th and Bryant. If you haven't had an opportunity to view the space, please reach out to fellow member and owner Susan Lacek for a tour. (Use the directory to look up Susan and any other member!)


    Leadership reviewed our plans for the coming year. We'll be focusing on:

    • Advocacy as Minneapolis rolls out its 2040 plan
      • Street Planning & Road Construction
      • Zoning Changes
      • Sick & Safe Enforcement
      • Signage Fees and Permit Rules
      • and Many Additional Regulation Elements
    • Education for business owners
      • Business Planning
      • Marketing
      • Additional Topics as Need is Identified
    • Networking events
      • Conversations & Coffee - roundtable guided discussions
      • Happy Hours - open networking hour
    • Marketing campaigns for our member businesses
      • Updates to the Experience Southwest brand
      • Planned media schedule to promote member businesses
    • and Value Add benefits to help our members reduce costs
      • Office Depot Discounts
      • Adobe Software Discounts
      • Hotel & Entertainment Discounts
      • Supplemental Insurance Exclusive Access

    You can learn more about these initiatives and help make them a success by participating in our Membership and Regulatory Affairs Committees, or by reaching out to our Coordinator, Jessica Reinhardt. Meetings and Events are posted on the events page of the SWBA site.

  • March 25, 2019 9:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The City of Minneapolis is proposing an ordinance that would require customers to pay for bags at the point of purchase if they do not bring their own. 

    Businesses with a point of sale system would be required to charge a minimum $.05 taxable fee for each bag, and itemize this purchase on receipts.

    SWBA is seeking anonymous input from business owners in order to shape our advocacy efforts on this issue. Please take the survey (about 5 minutes to complete) at by end of day Friday, March 29th!

  • March 22, 2019 3:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Apply Now to Host a Parklet in 2019


    The City is seeking community partners to host City-owned parklets for the 2019 season — a new opportunity for the parklet program that launched five years ago. Parklets are unique public gathering spaces built in the right-of-way with seating, plantings and other amenities for people to relax and enjoy city life. You might have enjoyed the cozy, beautiful parklet that Mel-O-Glaze hosted last year.

    Participants in the program said the parklets added color and vibrancy to the streetscape, promoted a sense of place and encouraged traffic to slow down. The goal of the parklet program is to activate community corridors with fun public spaces that make neighborhoods more vibrant and support local businesses. Neighborhood organizations, street-level businesses, nonprofits, and community organizations are encouraged to apply by April 5.

    City crews will setup the parklets at host locations in the spring after street sweeping is completed and will remove them in the fall. The City-owned parklets include the parklet structure (platform and planter boxes), plantings, chairs, tables, patio umbrellas and public parklet signage. Hosts are responsible for day-to-day maintenance, such as watering plants, picking up trash, taking down umbrellas on windy days, locking up tables and chairs when not in use and reporting any issues.

    Find more information about the parklet host application process on the City’s website or by contacting Kelsey Fogt at

Copyright Southwest Business Association

Southwest Business Association is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. Minnesota , P.O. Box 8932, Minneapolis, MN 55408

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