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Here are some resolutions you can keep

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Here are some resolutions you can keep

Posted on 10 February 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Building a Stronger Midway

By CHAD KULAS, Midway Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

It’s January 2020, which means a new year and a new decade. For many, the start of a year is the best time to make resolutions – to change your life for the better. Unfortunately, we know how well many resolutions work. The gym is always the busiest in January. Many diets begun after the holidays are over before Valentine’s Day. So, what are some resolutions we can make that we can (hopefully) keep? And which also benefit our community?
Resolution 1: Discover a new local restaurant each month. I did this one year and had so much fun learning new (to me) gems in my neighborhood. University Ave. is home to one of the most diverse arrays of cuisines in the Twin Cities, with many making famed chef Andrew Zimmern’s lists for best places to eat in town. Bonus points for bringing a neighbor or even making it a night out for the block. However, dining out can be expensive so maybe instead you find a new grocery store. Or any retail store.
Resolution 2: Become more environmentally and energy efficient – and saving money in the process. Zero Waste Saint Paul is an organization with helpful tips on how to become more environmentally friendly with your waste (for more information, check out zerowastesaintpaul.com and look for the article in last month’s Monitor). Another way to be more sustainable, environmentally friendly and save money is to acquire used goods rather than buy new. The Midway-Frogtown Exchange is a Facebook page dedicated to residents interested in buying, selling or giving away items. A Goodwill is also located on University, along with more second-hand stores. If you’d rather just give away your old clothes, another wonderful place is Dress For Success, a nonprofit who accepts donated professional women’s attire so others can have nice outfits for a job interview.
The Midway is known for having some of the best transit options in the Twin Cities, from bus routes to light rail and bus rapid transit. Using public transit eliminates another idling motor on the road and the added risk of wear and tear on your vehicle. If you are planning to park somewhere with paid parking, taking public transit may be a cheaper option.
Resolution 3: Connect more with the community. Our lives are busy, and we all get into habits where we go directly home after work and don’t emerge until the morning. But people are happier when they are more engaged with the outside world, and what better way than with others who live near you. I spent six years on the Frogtown Neighborhood Association, and it helped me get to know more neighbors and find out what’s happening where I live. It also allowed me an opportunity to help shape what happened too. With so many charities close to us, find one with a mission you can become passionate about. Or perhaps you just help organize more neighborhood or block parties (it can happen more than just National Night Out).
Resolutions don’t have to be broken. And they can be more than just self-fulfillment. Resolve to learn more about your community – you’ll meet interesting people and have a good time!

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Manufacturing in the Midway

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Manufacturing in the Midway

Posted on 12 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Building a Stronger Midway

By CHAD KULAS, Midway Chamber of Commerce Executive Director
Oct. 1-7 was Minnesota Manufacturing week, and events were planned and celebrations occurred throughout the state in an effort to honor and raise awareness of the many products created in Minnesota. Historically, the Midway community has been one of the top homes for manufacturing in Saint Paul as well as the state. With a perfect space in the middle of the Twin Cities, the Midway was a natural spot for manufacturing. Having easy access to several rail lines helped get things started over 100 years ago, and many of the old buildings remain today (though many have been repurposed).
Today, the Griggs-Midway Building at the corner of Fairview and University is home to several organizations, nonprofit and for-profit alike. But when I worked there almost 20 years ago I was fascinated to realize it had once been a candy and cracker factory.
Last year, the Midway Chamber held an event at the newly renamed Prior Works Building. Originally built in the 1880s, the building has created agricultural equipment and was home for many years to Silgan Container and the American Can Company. Today it’s home to Flannel Jax’s, an axe-throwing event company; Blackstack Brewing and TrueStone Coffee; the part mini-golf course/part art exhibit Can Can Wonderland; and many more tenants who want to have their office in a creative space.
The Minnesota Chemical Building will be repurposed after spending over a century manufacturing soap products.
Vandalia Tower opened in the old King Koil Mattress site in 2015, with more space for creative offices, an event space, and yes, another taproom (Lake Monster Brewing).
But don’t think manufacturing is only a thing of the past in the Midway. In fact, parts of the Midway still contribute more to the city’s commercial and industrial tax base than anywhere. Salsa Lisa, a company started when its founder started selling her salsa at farmer’s markets, is now a national brand and located on Pelham. Deneen Pottery has been creating hand-thrown clay products since the 1970s and today employs over 80 workers on Endicott (in the same building as yet another taproom, Urban Growler). Two recent moves from other cities to the Midway’s Energy Park Drive are going to help increase our commercial/industrial numbers. MISCO, a company offering audio solutions, recently moved from Minneapolis; Alula, a company offering smart security solutions, moved from Hudson, Wis.
These companies are just a few examples of the innovative products still being manufactured in the Midway today. Manufacturing not only helps create jobs in our community, it also helps the city’s bottom line. A study conducted by the Saint Paul Port Authority states that industrial activity consumes only $0.60 to $0.70 in city services for every $1 in revenue it generates.
As you drive around our neighborhood, take note of the companies here creating jobs and products, and consider supporting local businesses. They do a lot for our economy and help make our neighborhood flourish.

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