US Rep. Keith Ellison and Minneapolis City Council Members Elizabeth Glidden and Cam Gordon met fourteen business owners and toured three businesses to discuss a citywide ordinance for earned sick and safe time, and to kick off the Main Street Alliance MN’s #ShopYourValues campaign and map featuring nearly 40 businesses across the city.
The tour started at GYST Fermentation Bar, where owner Ky Guse discussed her business model, which ensures staff have a predictable, living wage by pooling tips and providing all staff a salaried job. As a creative food business, Ky has also been interested in helping the city shape an ordinance that improves the quality of jobs across the city.
At the second stop, around the corner, B Resale, owner Allison Bross-White discussed her desire to make sure her personal values are reflected in her business model. In her own store, which sells used designer clothes at an affordable price, Allison plans to start earned sick days for her January 1st. She also the need to address racial disparities in the city, and sees sick days as a good first step.
At the final stop,Glam Doll Donuts, the tour was joined by the owners, Teresa Fox and Arwyn Birch, as well as ten additional business owners from across Minneapolis: Abdirahan Kahin, owner of Afro Deli, Dan Ogiba, owner of Toppers Pizza Uptown, Kate Davenport and Lynn Hoffman, Eureka Recycling; Molly Glasgow, owner of Point Acupressure ; Danny Schwartzmann, owner of Common Roots Café and Common Roots Catering ; Kagalee Brown, owner of Wolfpack Promotions; Frank Brown, owner of Minuteman Press- Uptown; Dan Swenson-Klatt- owner of Butter Bakery Cafe; Sarah Piepenburg, owner of Vinaigrette Gourmet Olive Oil and Vinegar Shop and Julie Kearns, owner Junket: Tossed and Found.
At Glam Doll Donuts, which serves 35 unique varieties of raised, filled, cake and vegan donuts daily, Teresa Fox said she has a vested interest in making sure her employees stay home and recover before going back to work, and is happy to implement sick days for her staff. As a waitress for many years, she never considered paid sick days as an option, before the City brought it to her attention.
Dan Ogiba and Sarah Piepenburg, who both have locations outside of Minneapolis, said they would happily implement the policy in all of their locations, and encourage the state to pass legislation statewide.
The business owners agreed: earned sick and safe time is the right thing to do. And if small businesses can do it, so should the large corporations, who have a greater profit margin, and should be investing in their employees. Small businesses in Minneapolis are rolling up their sleeves to help craft a policy that works for businesses, workers, and the local economy.