MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s a new space opening at the Mall of America that’s helping some local business owners get a fresh start in a challenging year.

“It took a lot of hard work and for me to be able to open the doors to even be here,” Joyce Sanders, owner of Urban 29, said.

She was able to open her own store on East Lake Street in Minneapolis. Two years in, unrest following the death of George Floyd. Her building was destroyed.

“We get up at seven in the morning and drive down and the whole building is up in flames,” Sanders said.

Sanders has been without work for four months but now she’s set up shop at the new Community Commons at Mall of America. The space features 17 minority-owned businesses.

“All of these businesses are locally owned and they’ve faced some hardships,” Mall of America PR Director Sarah Grap said.  “Not only the civil unrest that took place throughout the community but COVID-19 has also been hard on retail.”

Husband and wife duo Cedric and Allena will be serving up Peach Cobbler at the Peach Eatery. Allena learned to cook from her mom and grandma, and has been running a southern comfort residency in a St. Paul restaurant a few days a week.

They’re hoping this new space will allow new customers to get a taste.

“The Mall of America is giving us a small start to something that could be greater is amazing to me and that’s very intoxicating in a good way,” Cedric Dancer said.

Community Commons will open at 10 a.m. Thursday. It will feature the following businesses:

·       4 The Love

·       Art Piece Soul Gallery & Studio, LLC

·       Butters by Jay

·       Candy Colors LLC

·       Captain Rebel

·       DAUREN Worldwide

·       Ebony Gifts

·       Fabulous Diva Boutique

·       Herbal Alchemy

·       Heritage Tea & Beverages

·       La Michoacana Purepecha

·       Llakta

·       The Peach Eatery

·       Twiggy Fresh LLC

·       Urban 29

·       VIP Section

Kate Raddatz

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