City of Minneapolis aims to give George Floyd Square businesses more support amid hardships

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Amid years of business growth hardships in George Floyd Square, the city of Minneapolis said it needs to offer more support to struggling businesses in the area.

In George Floyd Square, time stands still.

For nearly three years, the corner of 38th and Chicago has remained the same.

A recent name change from Cup Foods to Unity Foods is one of the few differences the area has seen in a while, but nearby business owners explained one thing remains the same.

“We’re still suffering over here and we need the city’s help to survive over here,” Willie Frazier, Finish Touch Boutique owner, said.

Frazier has been selling clothes out of Finish Touch Boutique for five years near 38th and Chicago.

“It was normal with traffic moving back up and down the street,” he said.

But after the death of George Floyd, barricades went up for around a year, unrest reshaped the area and sales took a big hit.

Frazier moved his business to Richfield just to get by because foot traffic plummeted in the area.

“We have no customers to keep paying the rent,” he said.

In 2021, the city of Minneapolis offered businesses near George Floyd Square $50,000 in forgivable loans to help, if they qualified.

“It’s not enough. It’s just not enough,” he said. “We need help with operating costs to pay rent.”

Andrea Jenkins, Minneapolis City Council president, agrees the city needs to offer more support.

“We’ve done some things to help those small businesses. Is it enough? No,” Jenkins said. “We need to really rebuild the street. We need to help them create an environment that is welcoming and safe and that’s the work of the city.”

Jenkins said the city is asking the state legislature for $25 million to invest in and around George Floyd Square.

She explained there’s been pushback from people on the ground who want the city to stay out of it.

“There’s just so much to it, a lot of different opinions about everything and it’s really hard to come to a consensus,” Jenkins said. “But that’s the work that we’re trying to accomplish.”

Frazier said he’s hopeful the area will turn around and he can reopen in George Floyd Square this summer.

“We’re not going nowhere. We got this. This is all in God’s plan,” Frazier said.

Jenkins said in a few weeks she’s meeting with the national African American History Museum to discuss ways to revamp George Floyd square that honors the social justice movement that grew out of 38th and Chicago.