Archive | October, 2018

Work it 08

Cooperative workspace energizes both brain and body

Posted on 08 October 2018 by Calvin

There’s nothing unusual outside the tidy, brick building at 635 Fairview Ave. N.—but inside, dozens of people are working in a way that is anything but ordinary.

Businesswoman Anne Hendrickson bought that building in 2017, replaced the roof, added an elevator, four bathrooms, two showers, and a full kitchen, to make her vision of a healthy workplace a reality.

The business she started last year, Work it, is a coworking space where members pay a monthly fee to use the space at any time, day or night. “What makes ours different from other coworking spaces,” Hendrickson explained, “is that members can integrate fitness into their workday. Every single piece of office furniture here, every single thing we do, is designed for slow, steady movement.”

Photo right: Anne Hendrickson, founder and owner of Work it, stood at her desk while balancing on a bosu. Her business motto is, “Work your body, boost your brain.” (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

There are 50 desks in the common spaces, private offices, and conference rooms at Work it. At the touch of a button, the desks can be lowered to sit at, or raised to stand at. The two-story, wheelchair-accessible facility uses specialized equipment from Lifespan Fitness and iSpace Environments, which allows the integration of fitness into otherwise sedentary work days.

Members can choose to use one of several types of wobble stools while seated, which require abdominal muscle engagement and quadriceps strength to hold steady. Hendrickson said, “These are the best office chairs ever. A person at work doesn’t have to move while seated if they don’t want to, but the option is there if they do.”

For a fitness challenge while standing, members can work on their computers while using a balance board, bosu (see photo), or treadmill.

Hendrickson is no stranger to entrepreneurship. She founded and ran Downtown Dogs (a daycare and boarding facility) in Minneapolis for ten years. In 2014, she was approached by a customer who wanted to buy her business and made her an offer she couldn’t refuse. Two years into a period of independent consulting, she found herself with no time to exercise. Worse still, because she didn’t have an office, she was always meeting clients at coffee shops and restaurants—eating food she didn’t want to eat and steadily losing touch with her body. Hendrickson realized she had traded her career for her health, and she thought, “I want to change that.”

The idea for Work it took shape over time. Hendrickson knew she had to buy a building rather than lease because the profit margin for a coworking space is just too slim. She had only two essential items on her short list of requirements for a building: natural light and free parking for members. It took her almost two years to find the building she eventually bought, which is just a short walk from the LRT and has easy access for cars and bikers too.

Memberships are available at different levels. A general membership costs $240/month. A small firm membership for up to eight people costs $400-$800/month. A private office costs $700/month. All levels of membership are on a month to month basis. Conference rooms can be rented by the general public for $40/hour. For a complete description of membership levels and amenities, visit https://co-workit.com.

Hendrickson added, “We have a very diverse group of members here. Wellstone Action is using our space for their employees for a year, while they relocate their offices. We have other non-profit members, a lot of tech people, writers, bloggers, and photographers. Dogs are welcome to come to work too. The bottom line is: you have to be able to get your work done, and not disturb anyone else in the process.”

Corporate clients seem especially drawn to the lower level, where workgroups often come for brainstorming sessions. Bike machines, free weights, open areas for stretching, moveable dry erase boards, revolving tables, and comfortable, supportive seating all lend themselves to better physical and mental health in the workplace. Hendrickson summed it up this way, “Every detail here is designed to maximize cognitive function.”

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Innovative entertainment/art space adds state-of-the-art ‘tap wall’

Posted on 08 October 2018 by Calvin

Can Can Wonderland, the first arts-based nonprofit in Minnesota, is remodeling and adding space to its location at 755 Prior Ave. Opened in January 2017, the festive venue offers food and drink, mini-golf, a boardwalk of arcade games, and live music.

The arts-based entertainment center is adding 10,000 square feet, renovating its kitchen and expanding its menu. “That space includes traditional private event space, activities, and a 5,000–square-foot pop-up art installation that will open in the next few months,” said Jennifer Pennington, Can Wonderland’s CEO.

And along with the remodel, Can Can Wonderland has added a tap beer wall that opened about two months ago.

When the business first opened, it offered craft cocktails. “With the number of people we were serving, it just wasn’t very good structurally,” Pennington said. She said the volume of people resulted in the service being slow. “We realized we had to change our structure, and so we pivoted and our director of operations, John Newsroom, found these self-service beverage walls,” she said.

“It’s really cool because it provides people more choices.”

Photo right: “We have instructions right on the tap screen,” Nicholson said. (Photo by Jan Willms)

She explained that if a customer is not sure he or she will like something, they can try it. “If you only want half a glass of wine, you can do that,” she said. “So it gives you a lot of choices, and it benefits the bar team as well. They still get tips, and there is still a bartender there showing people how to pour and making recommendations.”

The natural mechanics of the tap bar were installed through the Better Beer Society, a local group, and all the technology on the outside of the wall was provided by iPourit, a company with its headquarters in California. “The response to the tap wall has been extremely positive,” said bar manager Tony Cutrone.

‘“It’s a different kind of interaction with the guests, something they are excited about. It’s great to have a team that is excited as well,” Cutrone continued.

“We get to offer a lot more beers,” Pennington said. “We did not have any taps before; we just had beers in cans.” She said that limited space resulted in limited beers being offered. ‘”Now we have 36 taps of beer, wine, kombucha, cocktails and cold press coffee.” She added that the main bar is no longer just a craft cocktail bar, but a full-service bar. “You can come in and get a gimlet or martini or old-fashioned, and still get a craft cocktail.”

Cutrone said there is a meter on the inside of the tap wall. “That hooks up to a tablet on the outside. That calculates how much you pour, essentially designs each tab. It charges by the ounce for how much you pour.”

Pennington said the patron is also limited to how much he or she can pour in an hour. “So if they reach that limit they need to go talk to a bartender who can assess them, and see if they need some water or food first. We make sure we are not overserving,” she said.

Cutrone explained that the cocktails at the tap wall are premixed.

“Every week we do a batch, depending on demand, eight to ten batches every week. They are pressurized and ready to go. I’ve never worked in a bar that premakes cocktails. It’s great and makes things run smoother.”

With the new technology, there have been some glitches, Pennington said. “Sometimes the lines had foam, so we had to figure it out, and now we can keep that under control. We also really need to do a good job of educating people on how to pour correctly. It’s not straightforward if you’re not a bartender.”

Darren Nicholson, vice president of iPourit, agreed that is a challenge. “We don’t have a lot of responsibility for it, but because we are a technology that fits into a beer dispense system, the challenge is patrons pouring their own alcohol.” He said the average patron comes into an establishment and has probably never poured a beer before. “There is a trick to it. We have instructions right on the tap screen,” Nicholson said. “There’s some secret sauce to pouring a perfect pint.”

He said another challenge from the perspective of iPourit is the market. “The market didn’t exist,” he noted. “It’s a completely different mindset on how you operate a business, so it was kind of a challenge to get people to understand that.”

He said iPourit was established in 2012 after its founders were out having drinks one night during a football playoff, and the bar was so busy they couldn’t get a drink. He recalled the founder, Brett, who is in IT, said, “All I have to do is create a software platform that you can throw a credit card in and pour your own drink.”

“Our first beer wall was installed in 2014 in Pacific Beach, CA, at Barrel Republic. Now the owner has three locations with tap walls, and a fourth going in. We have 128 location and over 3700 taps. It really is starting to take off,” Nicholson said.

He said iPourit serves several different markets, concentrating on five. “We work with taprooms, fast casual, hospitality, corporate office and what we call urban living. Can Can Wonderland is a mix of all of them.”

He said every person who checks in has to have a driver’s license and credit card swiped. “We collect all the data: gender, age, and zip code. We report on every ounce that those demographics drink.”

Nicholson said that across all the locations in the United States, the average pour size is 4.7 ounces; the average times a patron visits the beer wall is 5.5 times a visit. “So the average customer consumes 28 ounces of product, with an average price of 54.5 cents per ounce.”

He explained that when an entrepreneur is looking at developing a business proforma and determining how many clients will be served, this process really helps define what the opportunity is because of all the data.

Pennington said that visitors to Can Can Wonderland have been very happy with the choices provided by the tap wall. Cutrone agreed, and he also considered the system to be very workable.

“The technology was intimidating at first, but actually it is a really simple and easy system to use.”
Nicholson added that he has found the tap wall is a fascinating place to hang out and is very social.

“It can be hard to strike up a conversation at a bar, but people at a beer wall have an option to communicate with someone else they don’t know, and they don’t have to feel creepy about doing it,” he said with a laugh.

Can Can Wonderland is open Thur., 4-11pm; Fri., 11am to 1am; Sat., 10am to 1am, and Sun., 10am to 8pm.

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Sports Column St. Paul Central photo

St. Paul Central going strong into boys soccer postseason

Posted on 08 October 2018 by Calvin


Even when his team had a 13-0-1 record going into the final week of the boys soccer regular season, St. Paul Central coach David Albornoz didn’t want his team to be satisfied.

“We have done nothing,” Albornoz said. “I try to keep the boys thinking one game at a time. The worst thing we can do right now is to grow arrogant. I still believe we have room for improvement.”

St. Paul Central has shutout eight opponents this fall and captured the St. Paul City Conference outright. The Minutemen rank No. 5 in the Class 2A poll through the last week of September and have a top-five win to their credit. They tied defending state runner-up Stillwater 3-3 in an early-season contest Aug. 25 at the Ponies’ home field.

Albornoz said his team has been consistent all season and has handled the pressure well. The Minutemen have won six games by two goals or less this fall.

“I’d rather win 2-1 or 3-2 struggling or coming from behind than 7-0,” Albornoz said. “I think that reveals the real character of our team.”

Photo right: St. Paul Central’s Jared Garcia maneuvers the ball in a game this season. He helped the Minutemen go unbeaten in St. Paul City Conference play going into their final game of the season against St. Paul Como Park. (Photo courtesy St. Paul Central Boys Soccer)

It didn’t go that way a year ago as St. Paul Central lost five games by two goals or less, including a playoff defeat against Rosemount when the Minutemen had a high seed. Albornoz said injuries played a role in that, which also gave the team an opportunity to improve. He said that resilience had carried over into this season.

Daniel Barrett leads the Minutemen in goals with 13 along with six assists. Mac Staloch has seven goals for second on the team, and he has four assists.

Max Hand leads the team in assists with 11, and he has six goals. Aiden Cavanaugh has three goals and four assists.

Minutemen goalkeeper Owen Brooks has been stellar in net.

Central beat Como Park 4-0 Oct. 3 and won the St. Paul City Conference with an unbeaten record. They’re now 14-0-1.

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Hamline Elementary marissaprofile

Hamline Elementary News

Posted on 08 October 2018 by Calvin

Community Partner Spotlight: Reading Partners

Hamline Elementary is home to the largest Reading Partners program in St. Paul serving nearly 60 students last year.

Reading Partners starts with a simple, powerful belief that all students are 100% capable and have the desire to succeed in reading. Their program offers an extra scoop of reading help during the school day—one-to-one support, for 45 minutes, once a week, with the same tutor all year long.

Photo right: An inviting and comfortable space has been created for the volunteers and students in the Reading Partners program. (Photo provided)

Students are referred by the school principal or classroom teacher and are assessed by Reading Partners to determine their reading level and direction for skill-building. Students may be anywhere between 6 months to two-and-a-half years behind, so Reading Partners volunteers are trained to provide extra help with everything from phonics to comprehension.

This personalized, one-to-one approach is one of the best ways for students to make gains in reading and is an invaluable asset to Hamline’s literacy program.

Reading Partners also takes a personalized approach at their sites; at Hamline Elementary, they organized training sessions for Hamline University students who work in Hamline Elementary classrooms, so they are prepared to provide robust literacy support for all elementary students.

Hamline Reading Partners Site Coordinator Marissa Heim (photo left provided), a passionate literacy advocate and future educator, sees the good working happening in the program every day.

She observes that as a student’s confidence grows, so does their willingness to try. “The relationships are key; they build trust, and soon students know that this person is here to support them. That changes everything,” Heim said.

Heim’s favorite part of her job is working with the kids; she loves their creativity, their conversations, and their eagerness to participate in Reading Partners. “The kids are always so excited to see their tutors—to see me!—and that enthusiasm keeps them coming back not only to learn but to connect. That’s why it works.”

Heim would like to see the program at Hamline grow to 65 students this year and with a team of committed volunteers already signed up, that goal is within reach.

The team of Reading Partners volunteers at Hamline Elementary include many neighbors and Hamline University students; Heim hopes to encourage more young professionals in the community to become volunteers, citing the value of mentorship and connection with people of all ages and all walks of life.

Heim has created a beautiful and comfortable space (photo right provided) for students and volunteers to work together and routinely participates in school programs and activities outside of her Reading Partners duties; for these reasons, and so many more, she is an important and beloved part of the Hamline community.

To learn more about the Reading Partners program in the Twin Cities, check out readingpartners.org/location/twin-cities. To find out how to get connected to the program at Hamline Elementary, contact Heim at marissa.heim@readingpartners.org.

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District Council’s News

Posted on 08 October 2018 by Calvin

Como Community Council

Special election for Board vacancy set Oct. 16
The Como Community Council is seeking candidates to fill a board vacancy from South Como and Energy Park.

Any renter, homeowner, or community member who is age 18 or older and lives in Sub-District 4 is eligible to run. So are authorized representatives from a business or nonprofit organization located in Sub-District 4. (Sub-District 4 essentially is any part of District 10 between the railroad tracks; it stretches from Dale St. west to Snelling.)

The special election will be at the next District 10 board meeting, Tues., Oct. 16, beginning at 7pm. Community members living in Sub-District 4 and sitting board members are eligible to vote. The candidate elected will fill the remainder of the vacant term—until April 23, 2019.

The deadline to get on the ballot is past, but District 10 bylaws allow candidates to nominate themselves at the meeting and run as write-ins. For more information on the responsibilities of a board member, see the District 10 website: www.district10comopark.org.

Get more connected
The first-ever Como Connect—a free, neighborhood resource fair —debuts on Sat., Oct. 13. It’s a chance to see, in one place, how much the community has to offer. The event features organizations and activities focused on aging in place, caring for children, keeping Como Lake clean, improving your do-it-yourself skills, things you can do at home to improve your environmental impact, urban agriculture, keeping your home and loved ones safe, and much more. The family-friendly event includes giveaways and activities for children.

Como Connect is Oct. 13 from 10am-2pm at Bethel Lutheran Church, 670 W. Wheelock Pkwy. For more details, see www.facebook.com/comoconnector.

Protect yourself from identity theft
A free seminar—Scam-Proof Your Finances: Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft—takes place on Wed., Oct. 17. The workshop (presented by LSS Financial Counseling, TopLine Federal Credit Union, and District 10) features:
• Ways identity theft happens
• Steps to stop it
• How to use a “deter-detect-defend” strategy to minimize your risk

The seminar is open to anyone; in this technological age, that includes children, teens, and adults of all ages. Admission is free, but registration is required. Call 763-391-9494.

Streetcar Station open once a month
With the change of seasons, the Como Park Streetcar Station is now open only on the first Sunday of each month. You can still stop in to pick up organics recycling bags or starter kits (while supplies last), or chat with District 10 board members who are staffing the day. Hours remain the same: noon to 4pm. Upcoming dates are Nov. 4 and Dec. 2. The Historic Streetcar Station is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton.

Upcoming District 10 Meetings
• Como Community Council Monthly Meeting: Tues., Oct. 16
• Environment Committee: Wed., Oct. 24
• Neighborhood Relations and Safety Committee: Tues., Nov. 6
• Land Use Committee: Wed., Nov. 7
All meetings begin at 7pm, typically at the Como Park Streetcar Station, which is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton. Renters, homeowners, and other community members are always welcome to attend and participate. Whenever possible, agendas are posted in advance in the “Board News” section of District 10’s website.


Hamline Midway Coalition

Board members needed
Hamline Midway Coalition is governed by a volunteer board. Serving on the board is a way to serve your community and help make decisions about land use and development, transportation, sustainability, and community building. There are nine elected board members and four appointed seats. All board members are elected or appointed for three-year terms. Elected members are voted in by the community in an annual neighborhood-wide election. Terms are staggered such that every year three seats are up for election—one from each of the three sub-districts in the neighborhood. If you are interested in serving on the board, please contact Executive Director Kate Mudge at kate@hamlinemidway.org.

Interested in joining the Board of Directors? Anyone interested in running for an elected seat on the Board of Directors must return a completed application to the Executive Director no later than 5pm, Mon., Nov. 19. Application and more information can be found at http://www.hamlinemidway.org/about/board.

Committees meet
Hamline Midway Coalition Committee meetings are open to ALL community members.
­—Board of Directors: 3rd Tuesday of each month, Hamline Midway Library Auditorium, 1558 W. Minnehaha Ave.
—Community Engagement: 1st Tuesday of each month, Hamline Midway Coalition’s Office, 1558 W. Minnehaha Ave.
—Development: 2nd Thursday of each month, Hamline Midway Library Auditorium
—Environment: 4th Monday of each month, Hamline Midway Coalition’s Office
—Transportation: 1st Monday of each month, Hamline Midway Library Auditorium
Contact us for more information or visit at www.hamlinemidway.org/work/committees.

By adopting-a-storm drain in the Hamline Midway, you are directly impacting water quality by preventing unwanted materials from entering the river.

Visit us at www.hamlinemidway.org/adoptadrain and learn how you can contribute to Midway’s Adopt a Drain Challenge and Keep Our Water Clean!

Pop Up Shop
Midway Holiday Pop Up Shop plans to be your one-stop shop to shop local in Hamline Midway on Small Business Saturday!

Each year more than 30 local vendors come together in one spot, making it’s easier than ever to shop local for the holidays! Visit us on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24, 10am-4pm at Celtic Junction, 836 Prior Ave.

Vendor list will be finalized in the coming weeks and will be shared through our website and Facebook. You won’t want to miss this yearly event!

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2019 Midway Chamber Directory