North Market: Creating Partnerships with Purpose

Assembling a Team of Partners

A Long Road 
It's taken almost three years for North Market to go from idea to reality, and PUC knew that the only way to make change on the scale they wanted would be to engage people who had expertise in the areas that they didn't. Building partnerships helped the PUC team assemble the resources needed to move the project forward. The first to join the team was a healthcare partner; North Memorial, and then a food supplier; Supervalu. These two organizations were invaluable in laying a foundation for North Market to become a reality. From there, the PUC team could leverage those relationships into building more partners and funders who would help the store get built. 

Creating Corporate Partnerships
Corporate partnerships were integral to the success of North Market. From the initial partners who continue to have a presence in the market everyday, to those who helped through brick and mortar funding, corporate support has made North Market a reality.  From design work that made North Market look tangible and well thought through, to the strength of the partnerships they had already formed, PUC often found corporate partners who were as interested in this type of work as they were. Many partners like Cargill, Target, and General Mills had been looking for ways to give back to North Minneapolis but had not found the right opportunity. Many Minnesota corporations and their employees were so engaged by the idea of how North Market could transform the community they would offer more than financial support, often volunteering their own personal time or skills as a way to get involved. General Mills and their foundation helped with financial support but also offered their expertise in understanding the market, building brand architecture, and creating a promotional video. The culmination of the hard work the PUC team put into making North Market a viable project and finding people with the expertise to make it happen paid off when it came time to ask for people to fund it. 

Governmental Partnerships
From the very begining, PUC had been working with local government organizations to help address key needs in North Minneapolis, and as the project transformed into a brick and mortar grocery store those governmental partnerships helped North Market become a reality. The building where the grocery store is located was sold  from Hennepin County to PUC, and the City Planning and Economic Development (CPED) department at the City of Minneapolis helped with everything from loan financing to finding minority and women vendors. Local government officials, from city council members to state senators, advocated for the store whenever necessary. Senator Champion was a key figure in helping North Market get awarded $2 million dollars in appropriations from the State of Minnesota in 2017. These amazing governmental partnerships show the variety of those who believed in the potential of North Market and were willing to help make it happen. 

"Low Bono" Partnerships 
The PUC team really believed in doing as much as they could to show partners the value of their contributions by working hard to make sure they were paid some amount. Referred to as "low bono" partnerships, for smaller partners like Knock Inc., who did all of the design work for the store, the PUC team wanted to be sure to provide some payment for their services even if they could not pay the typical rate. In creating partnerships, it was important to show partners that their valued their professional skills and expertise by paying what they could and not asking for every service pro bono. In doing this, partners become more invested in the work - both because they knew the PUC team valued their work enough to pay for it but also because they believed in the mission and vision of North Market. 

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This page references:

  1. Government Partnerships
  2. Corporate Partnerships
  3. Lo-Bono Partnerships