Business

Heads up Twin Cities, Plaid is the new Black Friday

(Photo by Sabrina Kennelly) Kathleen O'Hehir-Johnson makes truffles at her small candy store Just Truffles on Grand Avenue in St. Paul.

You can hear from the songs on the radio, the ads in the newspaper, and the commercials on TV that the holiday season has begun. This week Cyber Monday and Black Friday will have consumers opening up their wallets to grab the perfect present for their loved ones.

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Same-sex marriage could increase Minnesota's annual economy by $38 M

(Photo by Heidi Garrido) A couple kisses after being married by former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak at city hall on Aug. 1, 2013.

Since same-sex marriage became legal in Minnesota, Heidi Garrido has shot for more than a dozen same-sex weddings. The St. Paul photographer said she’s already seen a major increase in her profits since the state legalized same-sex marriage last summer.

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Indie First Day/Small Business Saturday, November 29

Reading is such a personal thing to me, I’d much rather give someone a
gift certificate to a bookstore, and let that person choose his or her own books.
-Writer & journalist, Erik Larson

A gift suggestion to consider as you work your way down this season’s holiday shopping list. A best path to the perfect book – - or the gift certificate — starts with a visit to a favorite indie bookstores on Small Business Saturday, November 29, 2014 – a day now known to bibliophiles as Indies First day!

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Minneapolis may allow later hours for businesses

(Photo by Elizabeth Brumley) Afro Deli owner Abdirahman Kahin takes orders Nov. 19, 2014. A proposed ordinance change would allow businesses to extend their hours of operation 35 days a year.

Abdirahman Kahin, owner of the West Bank’s Afro Deli, sees fewer customers during Ramadan, the monthlong Muslim daytime fast.

His restaurant is only open until 9 p.m., a time that’s too early for many Muslims to eat during the fasting period.

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A call for sales tax on cars and gasoline

No, I’m not joking. David Levinson wrote about an often overlooked but important subsidy* given to drivers: the lack of sales tax on gasoline and auto/truck purchases. I’m surprised this hasn’t received more attention given the other distortions that see press. Yes, we pay a motor vehicle sales tax when buying a car, but that is supposed to be a user fee for funding roads (well, 60% of it at least). Yes, we also pay state and federal gas taxes, but again those are user fees (the MN gas tax is 100% dedicated to the Highway User Tax Distribution Fund).

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Workers to hold week of action to demand higher wages

(Still from video below, courtesy of blackfridayprotests.org)

Low-wage workers in a variety of Minnesota workplaces plan a week of action Nov. 28 to Dec. 5 around demands for a $15-an-hour minimum wage and improvements in working conditions.

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Transit-oriented development: Quality over quantity

A colleague of mine (from a more urban city) recently visited. When he arrived, I offered to show him around and he wanted to see transit-oriented development (TOD). Hmm…. I wanted to impress him, but I was stumped. Despite all our attention as a city and region to TODs, I don’t believe we have any great transit villages right off the platform where we could go that would really resonate with him. There’s Nicollet Mall and Target Field Station, but I wanted him to say, “wow, this is great!,” but I didn’t feel those would produce that response. Maybe I have impossibly high standards (maybe I’m just getting old and codgery), or maybe the Twin Cities is lagging a bit in the TOD quality department. So I took him for a drive along the West River Parkway and to West River Commons, which impressed him. This begs the question what is TOD and how can we do it better?

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MN Jobs Coalition received $355,000 from the RSLC; where'd that money trickle down from?

In a report about Minnesota Jobs Coalition chair Ben Golnik's new job as executive director of the Minnesota House Republican caucus, Minnesota Public Radio's Catherine Richert reported in Monday's article, Golnik to direct House Republican Caucus:

Golnik is leaving his post as chairman of the Minnesota Jobs Coalition, an independent political group that spent hundreds of thousands of dollars ushering in the Republican majority to the Minnesota House. Republicans won in nearly every district the group invested in. . . .

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What you need to know about the India-US agreement at the WTO

Just ahead of the G-20 Leaders’ Summit in Brisbane, Australia (November 15-16, 2014), India and the United States announced a breakthrough in their trade negotiations impasse over agriculture. That fight had brought trade negotiations to a crashing standstill in July after the few months of tentative optimism among negotiators that followed the eleventh-hour agreement in at the Bali Ministerial Conference in December 2013. Confidence in the multilateral rules-based trading system had reached an all-time low, and while the response was muted (an agreement between two WTO members is not the same as an agreement among all), the media coverage made it clear the news of the U.S.-India agreement was very welcome in trade circles.

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Hampden Park Co-op sounds call to action

(Photo from Hampden Park Co-op website)

Last summer, Hampden Park Co-op put out a call to action to its members to increase sales at the Raymond Avenue food cooperative. General manager Greg Junge says that call appears to have been heeded.

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