Troubled north Minneapolis liquor store’s license transferred to We Push for Peace founder

Troubled north Minneapolis liquor store’s license transferred to We Push for Peace founder

Troubled north Minneapolis liquor store’s license transferred to We Push for Peace founder

An ongoing debate about the future of a troubled north Minneapolis liquor store has taken a new turn.

The city council voted to transfer the Merwin Liquors liquor license to We Push for Peace founder Trahern Pollard.

For the last few years, We Push for Peace has been on the ground on West Broadway and Lyndale to try and turn it around.

“That’s what I’m trying to do with some of the young folks that we work with on a day-to-day basis like don’t forget the trauma, but let’s try to figure out a way to turn that trauma into your power,” Pollard said. “This is what I love to do.”

Last February, they opened up a community resource center right inside the Merwin Liquors building, and city data shows gun crimes decreased.

He calls acquiring the liquor license phase two of his plan to change the trajectory of the corner.

After a Thursday Minneapolis city council meeting, the majority of members voted to grant Pollard the liquor license to Merwin Liquors. Two members voted against it.

“Now that I’m going to own the business and then I’ll own the property. Then, I can reimagine it,” Pollard said.

This idea came with a lot of pushback.

Sanctuary Covenant Church is right next door to the liquor store. They started a petition in September 2023 to stop the transfer of the liquor license citing issues of trauma and addiction in the area.

“I would say that the church, as well as me, feel very consistent. We don’t believe the liquor store should be there,” Jesse Ross, Sanctuary Covenant Church representative, said.

Ross explained he wants north Minneapolis to have something different like a community area, a driver’s license education center or an area for entrepreneurs to sell products.

“Anything for the people. Anything that is not leading to death and destruction,” Ross said.

Pollard said the future of the building does not include a liquor store.

“Is the liquor store going to be there in my reimaging plan? Absolutely not and I say that with great conviction.” Pollard said.

Pollard said now the next goal is to own Merwin Liquors. He has a meeting in the coming weeks with the store to work out some of those details.

Minneapolis City Council member Jeremiah Ellison, representing Ward 5, released a statement about the pushback from the vote saying in part, “Many on the Northside have been under the impression that the City Council gets to decide whether Merwin’s Liquor exists or not. Some have asserted that this is the case — often with passion and good intentions. But this is not true. The vote at the City Council meeting today was about who may hold the license… there was never any lawful path to remove the license entirely.”

Ellison added, “I hope you all can respect and accept that the new liquor license to TXT has emerged as the best possible option under the authority I have.”