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Cub Foods store may revitalize Minneapolis neighborhood
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Cub executives say this 80,000 sq. ft. building will be larger than most Cub grocery stores. The former Target store closed after company officials reported the location wasn't productive enough. (MPR Photo/Brandt Williams)
For most Twin Cities residents, it's not difficult to find a large grocery store, like Cub or Rainbow, close to home. However, people who live in north Minneapolis have to drive outside the city to find a big box grocery store. But the neighborhood is getting a Cub Foods store and residents hope this is a sign of better economic times ahead.

Minneapolis, Minn. — In a middle school auditorium in north Minneapolis, Cub Foods executives talk about the new store coming to the neighborhood. They show slides with drawings of what the 80,000 sq. ft. building will look like when the project is complete. The building used to be a Target store. It will be larger than most Cub grocery stores.

Barbara Boykin is among about 50 or so residents listening to the presentation.

"If you look in the area of the north side, there's no place for us to shop," Boykin says.

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Image Store manager Ed Anderson

She lives within walking distance of the new store location. There are smaller grocery stores around, but Boykin says the neighborhood needs a place with cheaper prices and a wider selection of products. She says right now she has to drive several miles from her home to get to the nearest large grocery store. Bruce Rumpf lives in a high-rise near the new site.

"If they had a million people in a survey, I'd be at the top of the list of wanting the Cub Foods over there," Rumpf says. "Because I don't drive. I've had to take two buses to Cub Foods on the south side on the first of the month."

Rumpf lives in an assisted living facility and doesn't own a car. There used to be a smaller grocery store next door, but it went out of business a few weeks ago. Rumpf travels by bus to get groceries for himself and some of his neighbors.

"I've had up to 12 bags of groceries in my hand. Taking up four seats to bring it back -- will take me about three hours to do this for the people who can't get out," he says.

West Broadway was once a vibrant business corridor. The avenue once supported hundreds of businesses, from large, chain department stores to smaller "mom and pop" shops. Now, many storefronts are boarded and vacant.

If they had a million people in a survey, I'd be at the top of the list of wanting the Cub Foods over there.
- Bruce Rumpf, north side resident

Minneapolis historians blame the north side's decline on several factors, including the flight of white, upper- and middle-class residents from the area in the late 1960s and early '70s. People took the money they used to spend on West Broadway to the suburbs, and essential businesses like grocery stores either moved or closed.

The effects of the exodus are still felt today.

Sherrie Pugh is the director of the Northside Residents Redevelopment Council. She says many north siders have to drive to Golden Valley, Robbinsdale and Crystal to shop at major grocery stores. Pugh says she hopes the new Cub Foods store will bring more people back to West Broadway.

"I don't think we should see it as the solution," says Pugh. "But it certainly will bring more people to Broadway. And then if we can get more businesses to come to Broadway, it will extend people's stay."

NRRC facilitated the meeting about the new Cub store, to give community members a chance to voice their concerns -- especially with Cub's 24-hour schedule. Some at the meeting were worried about security. However, Cub executives say there will be ample security inside and outside the store.

The store is also promising to bring 200 union jobs -- one-quarter of which will be full time positions. Cub executives say the average worker salary will be $13.50 an hour, and benefits will be available for both full- and part-time employees. They say they're looking to hire people from the area to work in the store.

Pugh says the jobs are sorely needed.

"I know in Near North/Willard Hay (neighborhoods) we have a 33 percent rate of poverty, and I've heard that Jordan has 29 (percent)," she says. "So clearly we have people who need livable wage jobs."

Barbara Boykin is not only looking forward to shopping at the new Cub. She hopes to land a job there.

"I got laid off in May. So I'm doing some temping right now," says Boykin. "I'm hoping they stay true to their word that they're going to hire within the neighborhood. I really do."

Hiring for the new store will begin this spring. The store is scheduled to open in early summer.

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