Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.

This coverage is made possible by a grant from The Saint Paul Foundation.

Minneapolis mayoral candidate Andrew outlines his ‘business-friendly’ plan

MinnPost photo by Karen Boros
Mark Andrew started “World’s Greatest French Fries” at
the State Fair while he was still in college.

What Minneapolis needs is a business-friendly culture for startups and expansions, says mayoral candidate Mark Andrew, who on Thursday outlined his plan to make that happen.

“Everybody has a horror story” of dealing with the city, said Andrew, who started “World’s Greatest French Fries” at the State Fair while he was still in college. “As I’ve campaigned, something has gotten my attention, and that is the number of small-business people and entrepreneurs across the board who have had bad experiences with the city over the years.”

Most small-business owners in Minneapolis are required to purchase a city license, and a permit to operate and are subject to inspections by city staff to make sure they are complying with city code.

Mayor R.T. Rybak started the process of restructuring the Department of Regulatory Services and the Community Planning and Economic Development Department, the two agencies that regulate businesses.

Andrew said he would expand that effort if elected.

“We need to make it easier for small businesses to interact with the city,” he said, talking about his plans outside his State Fair French-fry stand.

About 80,000 small businesses account for 40 percent of the jobs in Minneapolis.

He would expand technical assistance to help write business plans, find locations, link new businesses to similar established businesses and help find financing. He also would establish an incubator to encourage the growth of green businesses.

“Developers have had very protracted licensing and permitting processes that sometimes slow down development from one construction season to the next,” said Andrew. “Our job is going to be — instead of saying here’s why you can’t do something — to show them how they can do something.”

Andrew said he would establish an advisory group of business owners to review current city regulations to find ways to make it easier to do business.  “We want to get rid of extraneous, duplicative and counter-productive regulations,” he said.

Scott Graham, an Andrew supporter, operates Uptown Realty and Management, which is responsible for about 100 rental properties in the Twin Cities.

“Minneapolis by far is the most complicated and most expensive city to run rental property in the Twin Cities,” said Graham. To convert a single-family home to a rental property, owners pay a $1,000 conversion fee plus a licensing fee, he said.

“That’s a large burden to place on people,” he said, “especially for people who are at the end of their financial rope.”

Andrew has spent the last eight years as president of Green Mark, a green marketing firm that worked with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field for LEED certification and rainwater recycling.

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 08/30/2013 - 06:12 pm.

    Andrew Supporter (Slumlord?)

    Well Mr. (Andrew Supporter) folks around where I live see an entire different world on rental property! We see (slum) land-lording as a very lucrative business, ask Mr. Mahmood Kahn! In our humble opinion, (slum) land lords get away with proverbial (slum) land lord murder, $10s of 000’s in assessments, never paid, bottom of the barrel tenants, (get them out of eviction court) with a total disregard for the existing neighbors and neighborhoods. The worst place on the block is almost always an absentee (slum) landlord, the problem property, noise, drugs, litter, turnover, weeds UN-shoveled, painted, kept, mowed you name it, is almost always the absentee (slum) land lord.

    Now your point is; lets elect this Mark Andrew guy so that he can make it easier (more cost effective for slum landlords) to asset strip neighborhoods and drive more homeowners out of the city and replace them with (slum) absentee Land lord properties?

  2. Submitted by Michael Gray on 08/30/2013 - 09:48 pm.

    This is a truly bizarre take on how to encourage small business in our fair city.

Leave a Reply