Saint Paul Grants Over $2.3 Million in Capital Funding to 41 Neighborhood Businesses and Organizations
The 2023 Neighborhood STAR grants support small, minority- and woman-owned businesses across the City of Saint Paul
A mayoral-appointed board of up to 21 members – three from each of Saint Paul’s seven wards – reviewed applications and made funding recommendations to the Mayor and City Council prior to approval at the December 13 council meeting.
“These grants are an investment in the heartbeat of our diverse and vibrant neighborhoods,” said Mayor Carter. “The Neighborhood STAR program not only fosters growth and innovation, but also champions the resilience of our small-, minority-, and woman-owned businesses, who are crucial contributors to our community’s tapestry."
This year’s Neighborhood STAR awards will leverage over $3 million in additional capital investment in Saint Paul, and will largely support small businesses or organizations, identified as having less than $1 million in annual revenue and/or fewer than 20 employees.
“The STAR program is so important to small businesses in Saint Paul that pay taxes in our city and sometimes just need a little help,” said Terri Banaszewski, Neighborhood STAR board member and Vice President at Sunrise Bank. “Some of them have access to other capital and some do not, so Neighborhood STAR is a critical part of finishing a project or other business purpose.”
For more than 25 years, the Neighborhood STAR program has used a portion of a half-cent sales tax for capital improvements in Saint Paul via an annual competitive grant round. This funding was authorized by the Minnesota State Legislature in May of 1993, and the Saint Paul City Council officially established the STAR program in 1994, which includes support for both the Neighborhood STAR and Cultural STAR programs, which provides funding for arts and culture programs in Saint Paul.
“The STAR program is a driving force behind innovation and vital capital improvements that our neighborhoods and businesses need to thrive,” said STAR board member Natalie King. “I'm thrilled about the forthcoming projects that will receive funding this year, knowing they will bring about a transformative and positive change in our community."
This change will mainly be led by businesses owned by women and minorities, with two-thirds of grants awarded to organizations led or owned by minorities and over half owned or led by women.
"The impact of the Neighborhood STAR program is profound and extends far beyond mere financial assistance; it underpins transformative community projects,” says Dawn Huffman, CEO and founder of the Grand Ole Creamery, which received a STAR award to make sustainable improvements to their iconic shop on Grand Avenue, such as solar powered amenities and expanded community space.
“For Grand Ole Creamery, it means turning our vision into reality. This green space initiative will not only enhance the environmental quality of Saint Paul but also set a precedent for other businesses to follow. It's a clear statement that business success and environmental responsibility can go hand-in-hand.”
In Ward One, STAR funding will help Bradley Taylor, the owner of The Donut Trap (pictured above), create something special that will benefit the whole community. His business, so far operated via vending machines, food trucks, and farmer’s markets, will now include a new brick-and-mortar location, something he says will be a game changer.
“Continuing to build community in Saint Paul after living here for over a decade is beyond exciting,” Taylor said. “We can’t wait to continue to immerse ourselves in the community and create a space where our neighbors can gather and enjoy themselves for many years to come!”
The grant awarded to JK Movement will also have deep impact. Located in the Jimmy Lee Recreation Center across from Central High School, this nonprofit will use STAR funds to renovate specific priority areas of the gym.
“The need for us to be a safe and responsive resource for youth to define lives, futures of hope, and opportunity is critical,” said JK Movement Executive Director Johnny Allen, Jr. “We must be a hub of cultural healing and excellence in our community for Black youth. These STAR funds are an investment in our young people and families. The $50,000 [award] means more than ‘basketball hoops and bleachers.’ STAR funds connect community with the futures of Black youth.”
“These grants highlight the businesses and organizations that make our neighborhoods special,” said Erin Lewis, Neighborhood STAR Program Coordinator. “The Neighborhood STAR program is such an important resource for investing in the types of restaurants, shops, housing, programs, and community spaces that really serve the unique needs of each ward in the city.”
2023 Neighborhood STAR recipients
- African Development Center
- African Economic Development Solutions
- Al’s Westside Diner
- Amani Construction and Development
- Awaken for Wellness
- Bartholomew and Stella Enterprise LLC
- Capital Deals
- Complete Beverage Service Inc DBA 7th Street Event Center
- CR 89 Inc.
- Day by Day of St. Paul, Inc.
- District 6 Planning Council
- Doge Pizza LLC
- East Side Neighborhood Development Company
- Grand Old Creamery
- Greater East Side/District 2 Community Council
- Hmong American Partnership
- The JK Movement
- Joan’s in the Park
- Latino Economic Development Center
- Life Juices
- Lip Esteem, LLC
- Pimento Jamaican Kitchen
- Plant Bar Café LLC
- Premier Management, LLC
- Rayz R Cuts, LLC
- RealBigHuge Brewing Company dba Wabasha Brewing Company
- Rice & Larpenteur Alliance
- Rondo Community Land Trust
- Saint Paul Development Corporation
- Saint Paul Family Medical Center
- Slice Pizza Lowertown LLC
- Sssdude-Nutz DBA The Donut Trap
- TB’z Customz Boutique
- TKP LLC
- Udo’s African Food Store LLC
- Union Park Management
- Unique Early Learning Center
- Urban Growler Brewing Company, LLC
- Yoerg Brewing Company
- Yoni Treats LLC