MOA offers space for local businesses hurt by riots, pandemic

The Mall of America has announced 17 local vendors will set up shop in their space
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More than a dozen local businesses forced to close because of the pandemic or damaged sustained in the Twin Cities riots will temporarily move to the Mall of America, the mall announced Monday. 

Beginning Oct. 1, 17 local businesses will begin reopening in the mall's new Community Commons, which is set to run through the spring.

The 5,000-square-foot space, designed by Minneapolis-based creative agency KNOCK, inc., is located on the building's second level. The mall has also commissioned artwork from the Minneapolis youth organization Juxtaposition Arts to display in the area.  

The 17 businesses located there are: 

  • 4 The Love
  • Art Piece Soul Gallery & Studio, LLC
  • Belle & Virtue Collection
  • Butters by Jay
  • Candy Colors LLC
  • Captain Rebel
  • DAUREN Worldwide
  • Ebony Gifts
  • Fabulous Diva Boutique
  • Herbal Alchemy
  • Heritage Tea & Beverages
  • La Michoacana Purepecha
  • Llakta
  • The Peach Eatery
  • Twiggy Fresh LLC
  • Urban 29
  • VIP Section

The announcement comes as the Mall of America, a tourist destination, continues to navigate the pandemic and its impact on commerce. Earlier this month, the company announced it was laying off a fifth of its workforce, around 200 workers.

After it closed during the beginning of the pandemic, public documents showed the mall had missed its mortgage payments for April and March.  

The mall also has 178 furloughed employees, and has told the state that this furlough may need to be extended beyond Oct. 1.

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"Should that be necessary, we do not intend to end the employees' employment with MOA, rather, they would remain active employees on unpaid layoff status," the mall says in its letter to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Meanwhile, the city of Minneapolis on Monday unveiled more details on its plans to help businesses rebuild. Mayor Jacob Frey and Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins have announced they are proposing $7 million in new city investment — consisting of $2 million directed towards businesses whose demolition costs are not covered by insurance and $5 million towards the city’s Commercial Property Development Fund. 

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