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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There is new light shining each night in Minneapolis to symbolize collective strength.

It started with an idea to unite the restaurant community in Minneapolis’ North Loop and inspire hope. Now, the votives in business windows are creating positive ripples.

Black Sheep Pizza owner Jordan Smith says the votives, which are small candles inside a rippled-glass shell, provide hope for the future. Like many restaurants, Black Sheep’s locations are focused on curbside and delivery, but business is down 60%.

“Even when we’re busy, it’s just so quiet,” Smith said. “I think that hope inside is absolutely critical for all of us.”

Hennepin Made, known for its artistry in glassblowing, created the ripple votives as a way of making and contribution during this uncertain time, says co-founder Jackson Schwartz.

“We find empowerment in actually creating things, and when we create things and take actions, no matter how small they may be, they ripple into the world,” Schwartz said.

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The votives are made through a glass casting process. Once ready, they move from the studio to the window of a hospitality business hurt by the pandemic.

“There’s a certain element of really wanting to, you know, have a statement saying, you know, this isn’t going to stop us,” Schwartz said.

They’ll keep going, and will be ready to welcome guests in a more traditional way, when they can.

“It’s almost like, you know, we’re leaving the light on for you,” Smith said. “We’re all here, and if we’re not open, we will be open.”

The votives are now available to buy to support Minnesota Central Kitchen in feeding people in need, and employing restaurant workers that have been laid off.

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Jennifer Mayerle

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