The construction of the I-94 highway destroyed more than 300 predominantly Black-owned businesses. We recognize that the creation, retention and growth of BIPOC-owned businesses is essential to revitalizing the Selby corridor, creating avenues for community wealth, and reestablishing Rondo as an African American commercial district and cultural destination.
A key aspect of our reparative framework, Rondo CLT honors Black business owners by compensating them financially for their often-overlooked and under-resourced contributions. So, as Mychael and Stephanie Wright moved toward retirement after establishing and operating Golden Thyme Coffee & Cafe for nearly 25 years, we worked with them to create an innovative approach to steward their legacy and grow their brand.
In coming months, we’ll test the blending of a franchise and multi-stakeholder cooperative ownership model that can expand the iconic St. Paul business while also providing new and ongoing opportunities for income generation and wealth creation for the broader community.
As the franchise concept is built out, the coffee shop space at 934 Selby Avenue will be transformed into Golden Thyme Presents to provide opportunities for BIPOC restaurateurs and food vendors to establish or grow their businesses on an interim basis. As one of the initial occupants of the space, Sammy McDowell will bring his Avenue Eatery to Selby, opening on October 1. The space will also serve as a platform for Rondo-based food businesses to get their start or expand through pop ups or future long-term lease options.
This is a pivotal moment — celebrating the groundbreaking success of Golden Thyme and its owners AND paving the way for a new generation of BIPOC small businesses that will restore the Selby corridor as a vibrant commercial district and create new wealth and opportunities for Black and BIPOC communities for generations to come.