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Community Renewal Good Stories - Minneapolis

Coffee Shop Adds Savor to New Minneapolis Urban League Headquarters

Minneapolis, Minnesota, EZ

"I want to give back and provide a business model of appropriate, professional behavior, particularly for our children," Ardana Johnson, owner of Café Tatta Bunna in the Minneapolis EZ, told the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. "I want them to know that any business they dream of can become their career."

Café Tatta Bunna has become a popular community gathering place since opening in December 2002. The first coffee shop on Minneapolis' Near North Side, Café Tatta Bunna leases space in the city's new Urban League Headquarters, the Glover-Sudduth Center for Economic Development and Urban Affairs. The 30,000-square-foot redeveloped building at Plymouth and Penn, with its distinctive patterned brick and clock tower, features two large public gathering places and nine smaller spaces.

The coffee shop received a $30,000 EZ business initiative loan through the Minneapolis Consortium of Community Developers. Other funding partners included Women Venture, Minneapolis Urban League, Minneapolis Community Development Agency, Northside Residents Redevelopment Council, and Franklin Bank.

The Minneapolis EZ Business Initiative is a partnership with community lenders to invest in EZ small businesses. It makes loans and technical assistance available to entrepreneurs within the EZ who may not be able to access conventional loans or who are in need of additional capital. Businesses located in the EZ are also eligible for a $3,000 yearly tax credit for each employee who lives in the EZ. Johnson, a former Northwest Airlines flight attendant, was born and raised in North Minneapolis. "My roots are here," said Johnson. "I graduated from North High and I recently purchased a home in north Minneapolis."

When asked about her business goals, Johnson said that she sees her future role as supporting other entrepreneurs. "There are people in places who can and will help you," Johnson affirmed. "I don't want anyone to say it can't be done."

For more information on the programs of the Minneapolis EZ, please contact Project Coordinator Maria M. Conley at (612) 673-5115