Brewing up a successful small business - twin cities
Ours To Own

Brewing up a Successful Small Business

Support local businesses like EastLake Craft Brewery that create jobs and promote minority-owned food vendors in Minneapolis

As Metro Transit bus driver Ryan Pitman drove his route, he daydreamed about opening his own taproom in an area with lots of restaurants. Having originally thought about Minneapolis’s Eat Street, he jokes that he only had to drive past Midtown Global Market 3,000 times before he realized it was the perfect location.

It took a team to help Ryan’s dream come true. From the beginning, he worked with local Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) the Neighborhood Development Center (NDC) who owns 50% of the Midtown Global Market. They provided the start-up with many hours of one-on-one technical assistance as well as a $50,000 loan.  Ryan cashed out his pension, got help from relatives and also received a loan for $50,000 from the city of Minneapolis. But, he was still $285,000 away from the $460,000 needed to open the business.

Because the business was a start-up, it was an uphill battle to find traditional financing. But then NDC sent Ryan to Community Reinvestment Fund USA, (CRF) because they knew that as a fellow CDFI, there was a commitment to funding small businesses in low-income communities. CRF performed an in-depth analysis of the loan request, with an eye towards finding a way to say “yes.”

Looking beyond the numbers, CRF found a rapidly growing craft beer market in Minneapolis, a location with built-in traffic, a strong group of advisors and consultants, and pledged ongoing support from respected partner NDC.

CRF was able to provide a $285,000 SBA 7(a) loan and NDC continued to help Ryan throughout the construction, providing countless hours of project management assistance and securing pro-bono legal help.

EastLake Craft Brewery opened in December 2014, attracting many customers who had never visited the Midtown Global Market. Ryan created 10 living wage jobs in a low-income community with a 35% poverty rate and a 10.5% unemployment rate. While the taproom doesn’t serve food, patrons can order or bring it in from businesses within the market, which creates additional business for each of the minority-owned food vendors.

By joining the Ours to Own movement your small investment directly allows Minneapolis’ entrepreneurs to build small businesses, reduce unemployment, and generate revenue for neighboring local enterprises.



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