Nacho’s Mexican Grill, Hopkins, MN
NDC believes our success and innovation is a result of regular, systematic evaluation. We know our work only matters if it has a real and definable impact on our entrepreneurs and their communities.
In the mid-1980s, St. Paul’s Rice Street neighborhood, once a vibrant working class community with scores of mom and pop businesses, was suffering. One by one the shops along the corridor were closing. Muntean’s Department Store, Schwankel Drug Store, Schiller’s Grocery—to name a few—gone with the rise of giant big-box stores in neighboring suburban communities. The slow trickle turned into a torrent—former bakeries, law offices and markets were closing, replacing the glass in the windows with plywood.
A young Mihailo Temali, energized by a passion for neighborhood revitalization, knew one key to a prosperous community was a strong business district made up of locally owned shops. A son of immigrants from Yugoslavia and Denmark, Temali had grown up on St. Paul’s East Side and knew the neighborhood well. Hired in 1984 as Executive Director of North End Area Revitalization Inc. (NEAR), he worked to design and implement dozens of storefront improvements along Rice Street, and then he got the Yellow Pages and a phone. Temali made more than 2,000 calls to encourage established businesses in other parts of the Twin Cities to move or open another shop. It was a tough sell – after six years of effort, NEAR had landed eleven new businesses for the district.
It wasn’t until he shifted his focus on Selby Avenue in the early 1990’s, another corridor with an ailing economy, did he and the folks he was working with have their “light bulb moment”: What if the auto mechanics and day care providers and beauticians working out of their homes and basements could fill the vacancies on Selby? Revitalization, they realized, shouldn’t come from one big corporate employer coming from outside the neighborhood. The best way to change the direction of a neighborhood would be by investing in those people who were already there – the neighborhood residents.
“These folks had endless skills and ideas for business activities, and often used them ‘out the back door’ for some extra income. Plus, they embodied the culture and personality of their neighborhood and liked where they live. What would it take to bring this local ‘underground economy’ into vacant storefronts along Selby Avenue?”
Mihailo Temali, NDC Founder & CEO
Locally-owned small businesses are powerful tools for revitalizing communities. They create jobs, fuel economic activity, promote community role models and leaders and establish dynamic community gathering places.
Community partnerships allow us to earn the trust of local residents, create social capital and establish assets which communities own.
Services that are receptive to clients’ backgrounds and personal history are key to eliminating barriers to success.
Entrepreneurial success in a constantly changing environment requires a comprehensive, flexible and future-focused approach.
Mutual respect and commitment lay the foundation for productive, long-lasting relationships. Healthy, productive relationships are derived from mutual respect and commitment.
Progress and innovation, fueled by regular evaluation, are the driving force behind our sustained success
Across America, concentrated poverty is on the rise. Build from Within Alliance (BfW Alliance) believes that areas of concentrated poverty need concentrated opportunity.
Talented entrepreneurs in these neighborhoods are ready to invest in their own communities, create jobs, rehabilitate vacant spaces and revitalize their neighborhoods from within.
NDC is proud to be a member of Build from Within Alliance.