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Cookies with a cause: Teen-run bakery to open second location in St. Paul

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There are cookies – a lot of them – in St. Paul's future, which is looking a heck of a lot brighter for the city's youth thanks to a new bakery moving into town.

Cookie Cart, the Minneapolis non-profit bakery that provides work and leadership training for teenagers, has announced plans to open a new facility in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood following the purchase of a building there, the Pioneer Press reports.

The paper says the company will now focus on raising the dough – $3.2 million – to renovate the space, and hopes to open its second bakery there in 2017.

Cookie Cart isn't your typical baked goods purveyor; the North Minneapolis organization puts teens aged 15 to 18 to work in a hands-on learning environment that trains them in customer service and financial literacy, and helps them obtain industrial skills certifications, according to its website.

The bakery was started in 1988 by Sister Jean Thuerauf as a way to give kids alternatives to crime and gang involvement.

Cookie Cart says its goals include giving its workers "connectedness to new communities," improved interpersonal skills and to prepare them for future employment.

The Star Tribune says that although it may take a while to open the new bakery in St. Paul, the group plans to start working with the city's teens next year.

The paper quotes Cookie Cart Executive Director Matt Halley as saying: "We look forward to working hand in hand with our new neighbors on the East Side to transform the lives of more teens."

More cookies in the capital city

This is Cookie Cart's second recent foray into St. Paul – just last week, they announced they would be setting up shop in the new TargetExpress in the Highland Park neighborhood.

The store, about one sixth the size of the retailer's typical "big box" stores, is a new concept aimed at providing convenience and quick shopping in urban markets.

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