• 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

  • March 22, 2019 3:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The winter parking ban was lifted this morning. You and your customers can once again park on the even side of the road, unless posted with signage.

  • March 22, 2019 3:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    35W Updates

    Upcoming Closures

    Expect a couple more overnight closures along 35W in coming days as Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) crews continue to work on the 28th Street bridge. 35W will be closed in both directions between Interstate 94 and Highway 62 starting at 10 p.m. tonight, March 22, through 8 a.m. tomorrow, March 23. Both directions of traffic will be closed again between Interstate 94 and Highway 62 between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. daily from Monday, March 25 through Friday, March 29.  

    Planned closures are subject to change based on weather and other variables. Be sure you’re in the loop on the latest updates by subscribing to MnDOT’s 35W email updates here.

  • March 22, 2019 11:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    SWBA is introducing business awards this year, and has extended the deadline to apply to March 28. Find details on our Awards page and apply today!

    These awards will help to increase the professional image of our business district, and will provide a great PR opportunity for our finalists and winners. 

    Finalists will be announced in April, and winners will be selected at our annual meeting in May.

  • February 14, 2019 5:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Local Music Scene, a monthly improv show at Bryant Lake Bowl Theater has sponsorship opportunities available. Every month a local musician performs music, and a group of some of the city's finest improvisors improvise comedic scenes inspired by the lyrics. I'm looking for businesses interested in sponsoring the show.

    The benefits of sponsorship include:

    • the business' logo on 200 posters put up all over town,
    • and mentions on social media, the program, during the show.

    Sponsorship packages are affordable and great for small businesses looking to increase their visibility. A current sponsor, a small barber shop, has renewed their sponsorship month after month and is now expanding their business by adding more barbers and chairs.

    The marketing area includes Southwest Minneapolis, and high-traffic areas throughout the rest of the city. If you are interested, please contact:

    Philip Simondet

  • February 14, 2019 5:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Top 20 Food Code Changes for Businesses 

    As of January 1, 2019, Minnesota has a new Food Code. Check out the 20 major changes in the new Food Code for business owners, managers and food service workers. You can also view and share this information as a flyer in English or Spanish.

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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