Thursday, June 2, 2011

Northside Food Market Closed for "Construction"

Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman.

The recent tornado wasn't the only big gust of wind that came through NoMi in the month of May.  A short time earlier one could hear a collective sigh of relief from McKinley that the Northside Food Market, which has been a problem for years, is FINALLY closed.  The Northside Food Market is run by Supton LLC, and the contact people for the rental license at this address are Ahmed J Alnosawi and Hussain Zahid, 612-522-5962.  If you believe the handwritten sign, they're just closed for construction.  Oh, the closure has nothing to do with the condemnation notice from the city of Minneapolis.  On related notes, John Edwards stepped aside from politics to spend more time with his family, and Manny Ramirez retired from baseball due to "health reasons."

Local residents now use the famous word "quiet" to describe their street corner at 36th and Lyndale.  We hear this so often in NoMi.  A place is problematic for months or sometimes years and it just drives the neighborhood nuts.  Then when it finally gets shut down, people stop and listen to the sounds of silence.  I love hearing folks using "quiet" as a catch-all for "Thank GOD those drug-dealing thugs are off my block!"

Shutting down inconvenience stores is no small feat and we're definitely grateful for the work our elected officials and city employees put into accomplishing this task.  But in talking to some of the people most directly affected, the common sentiment is that this process took far too long. 

But if the Northside Food Market is "closed for construction," then it begs the question...

...what kind of construction might they do?

Is this a loading dock or a trap door over a pit of spikes?

Here's the entryway to the expansive 466-square-foot apartment.

How about constructing a corner store where the owners and employees actually do something about the near-constant loitering and drug dealing that went on when the place was open for "business"?  One could also construct a lease for the apartment that included a crime-free addendum.  That is, of course, if the apartment is reconstructed after the "lack of maintenance" (read: rented out to drug dealers who drove it into the ground) which led to its condemnation.  Obviously the loading dock needs to be constructed so that deliveries can safely be made, and if that ever happens, neighbors could use better products than $5 tin foil. 

I hate to say "I told you so," but (actually, I don't really mind saying "I told you so.") but last fall when the city of Minneapolis rolled out their "healthy corner stores" press piece, I scoffed at the inclusion of the Northside Food Market on that list.  I said, "this list just seemed like a way to allow inconvenience stores to temporarily endear themselves to the neighborhood or the powers that be."

The healthy corner store initiative assists stores with the following:

  • Assistance with product display and store layout design ( e.g., use of tiered display baskets at the counter where healthy “grab and go” foods could be featured such as apples, bananas, pre-cut produce, celery with peanut butter; use of baskets in coolers to make produce stand out from other goods).
  • Signage to draw customers’ attention to healthy food options.
  • System to track sales of fresh produce.
  • Training on proper produce handling to maximize shelf life, e.g., determining which produce should be refrigerated or not.
  • Stipend to use toward their first order from produce/healthy food wholesaler.
  • Promotion and coordination of kick-off events to introduce residents to the store improvements
Can anyone more familiar than I am with the Northside Food Market tell me if their product display and layout changed?  Did they stock healthy "grab and go" foods like apples and bananas?  Was there signage?  Will we see sales numbers from this and other stores?  What happened at the kick-off event that was scheduled for December 11, 2010?  Have the other north Minneapolis stores listed as participants (Lowry Food Market, Vitalife Pharmacy, One Stop Station, and Glenwood Market) produced results?  When the project ends at the end of this month, when will residents see what the measurable outcomes are?

I wish I could believe that the Northside Food Market's participation in this program were part of an honest attempt to turn their poor community track record around.  Instead, it may have prolonged the harm this business inflicted on the neighborhood around it.  Good riddance.


  1. Two post-script notes: the news about this store's demise first broke on the Johnny Northside blog, in the comment section of the first post I wrote about the problem. (Although the McKinley residents had been working tirelessly for much longer).

    Second, while proofreading and editing, I wanted to go back and add the name of the owner of the property/business to the article so that the googlebots would pick up on that info. The city's website is acting up again and I can't access that info for the time being. It should be added later.

  2. It's going to be a pleasure to see more of these placards going up around town. Like Mahmood said in the Strib. "The city wants Edina, but it just won't happen in this part of the world." What part of the world are you from Mahmood? Every part of the 1st. and 2nd. world that I've been to certainly doesn't have dregs like you in its inner city core (other than the good 'ol US of A)... I have even seen some 3rd. world properties that are better up-kept than yours. It's my opinion that YOU, and your ilk are the reason why we're not "Edina". Mahmood, take your pittance for your POS properties and get the fuck out.

  3. Opps. Looks like Hawkman is trespassing again. Clearly being on property he has no business being upon. You had permission to be up on the stairway??

  4. Ah yes, the Strib article. Expect a post on that in the near future. And changes to my original post have been made to include the names of the owners of this establishment.

  5. Here we go again with the trespassing BS. Care to point out where in the state trespassing statute it says that I trespassed? Or what about the city ordinances around trespassing, loitering, or lurking?

    Any other such comment that fails to reference a specific law, statute, or ordinance won't be worth publishing.

  6. OK Here is the city ordinance (see #3) that clearly states that no person shall trespass upon a condemned property. CLEARLY YOU WERE IN VIOLATION OF THIS ORDINANCE. But I'm sure you will never admit a mistake, and will have some smart retort.
    And I did call the city and get verification that "upon" means being anywhere physically on the building such as the porch or stairway because they may be unsafe and included in the condemnation orders.

    385.380. - Trespassing upon the land or property of another.

    (a) Definitions. For purposes of this section:
    Agent shall have the following meaning: a person authorized by another to act for him or her. The act of posting a no trespassing sign shall constitute authorization for a licensed peace officer to act as an agent for the lawful possessor of the land or property unless the lawful possessor affirmatively indicates otherwise on the face of the sign. "Agent" shall include, but not be limited to, a security officer hired to secure the land or property or a licensed peace officer.
    Lawful possessor shall have the following meaning: a land owner, a property owner, or a tenant of the land or property.
    Property shall have the following meaning: a building or other property, whether real or personal, private or public.
    No person shall intentionally enter or remain upon or within the land or property of another and, without claim of right, refuse to depart therefrom on demand of a lawful possessor thereof or his or her agent. A demand to depart may be made orally, or in writing, by the lawful possessor or the possessor's agent. No person who has received an oral or written demand to depart pursuant to this subsection shall reenter a lawful possessor's land or property without the written permission of a lawful possessor or the agent providing said demand for a period of up to one (1) year from the date of the oral or written demand, as provided therein.
    No person shall intentionally enter or remain upon or within the land or property of another without permission from a lawful possessor thereof or his or her agent when such land or property includes signs conspicuously posted at reasonable intervals which prohibit trespass or trespass during certain hours on the affected land or property.
    No person shall enter or remain upon or within the locked or posted property of another, or condemned or boarded or abandoned property, without claim of right or consent of a lawful possessor or his or her agent. (79-Or-192, § 1, 9-28-79; 88-Or-164, 9-2-88; 91-Or-205, § 1, 10-25-91; 2005-Or-134, § 1, 12-2-05; 2006-Or-026, § 1, 3-31-06)

    So unless you have permission you may NEVER be upon or in a abandoned, boarded, or condemned property, even if it is unsecured.

  7. Well we have ourselves a bit of a conundrum, don't we, anonymous? How would we reconcile that ordinance with the three-year-old call by the city to adopt a vacant property?

    Now John Hoff took that mandate a bit too far in my opinion. However two specific points are made by the city itself in regards to what adopting vacant properties entails:

    "# Report a property that is open to trespass (including one that has not yet been boarded), or if you observe anything on the property that could be a health or safety issue by calling 311.
    # Check on a vacant property occasionally to ensure doors and windows are closed and that the building is not open to trespass."

    There really isn't a way to check windows or doors to see if a property is open to trespass without setting foot on it somewhere. Furthermore, one purpose a notice posted on site serves is that it publicly informs passersby of the property's condition. Walking up to that notice and reading the information it provides is a reasonable purpose for being on the property.

    If we take your interpretation to the extreme you're suggesting, then every phone book, newspaper, or flier left at a vacant property would be construed as trespassing. That's not so bad. But the kids walking home from school who cut across a vacant lot? Trespassing, all of them. The volunteers going door-to-door checking up on tornado victims better stay away from a house that looks like it might be vacant, seeing as how they "may NEVER be upon or in an abandoned, boarded, or condemned property." If they walk up to the place only to see it's condemned, too late, that's trespassing.

    Do you have any suggestions, anonymous, for how one might monitor whether a property has been broken open without violating your interpretation of the trespassing ordinance? If not, then let's talk about why it took so long to get the Northside Food Market shut down. Let's examine whether the healthy corner store initiative actually accomplished anything. Those are the interesting elements of this blog post and the conversation has been derailed from that for long enough.

  8. McKinley ResidentJune 3, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    Anonymous, you miss the point of the post. This hell-hole, dump of a store closed, causing hard working, tax-paying McKinley residents, like myself, tp rejoice. I could care less about trespassing. These fools have broken the law over and over again and allowed illegal activity on their property for years. And they are finally closed after we kept on bitching. This is progress in this area and I am glad it is getting reported. Other slums like this need to be shut down and this type of reporting goes a long way to help that.

  9. I would also add for "Anonymous". What the fuck are you going to about it? You might have a valid reaction once "Castle Doctrine" laws are instituted in MN. But until then, shut the fuck up and be glad we're not on your doorstep.

  10. Hawkman, I think you are the one taking it to the extreme. The Adopt a vacant house states: "City leaders are encouraging neighbors and block clubs to work together by “adopting” a vacant property on the block." That says "on the block". They want neighbors to keep an on the houses next door on their own block.
    No where does it say they want people to patrol neighborhoods and act like building inspectors.
    During the tornado disaster the city was very specific to tell volunteers to only work in approved areas, that was because they did not want people getting injured by going upon unsafe structures or in unsafe areas.
    The condemnation ordinance is similar. Stay off and out of condemned buildings for safety.

    It appears to me that you are going to twist the wording of an ordinance to meet your specific needs or desires. And you seem to believe that because you are the "Hawkman" you have some special privileges.
    So my suggestion, to solve the conundrum, is to do what the city asks. Pick one house on your block, adopt it, and check on it regularly.
    Let other neighborhoods and blocks handle their own business. Don't you have enough to do in Hawthorne?

  11. @Folwell Fox, thanks for having my back there, albeit in your own...idiom.

    @anonymous, I had several McKinley residents ask if I would blog about this particular store being shut down. I don't think being the "Hawkman" gives me special privileges, but I do think we fundamentally disagree on this issue - if in fact it is an issue to anyone at all.

  12. I hate to burst your bubble, but just because a building is condemned doesn't mean it can't reopen after the appropriate violations have been abated. The business may be closed now because of this condemnation order, but by following your own links in the article a building just has to fix those deficiencies in order to be granted occupancy again.


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