Newsletter to unite, inform city’s Phillips community businesses

Sarah Brouillard

Remi Iselewa, an attendant at the Franklin Laundromat in the Phillips neighborhood, has nothing but praise for the Phillips Community Development Corporation. Her employers are planning a series of renovations to their business – adding a security camera and painting the exterior – and the CDC has gone out of its way to help them with their plans, she said.

“They’re very much involved,” Iselewa said. She points to the time the CDC helped the laundromat locate contractors when no one would return its phone calls. “(The CDC) always keep in contact. They always call and stop by …. Having someone to help you out is a good thing.”

Despite the high approval ratings among neighborhood business owners and operators, the Phillips CDC is on a mission to further strengthen its ties with the business community. Starting in late September, it will publish a quarterly newsletter – similar to other Minneapolis neighborhood CDCs’ – to educate the neighborhood about its services and projects and to draw attention to some local business success stories.

“It’s a marketing strategy,” said Michou Kokodoko, director of the Phillips CDC. “It’s very important for people to understand that there are so many resources out there for them to reach their personal goals.”

The newsletter will alert residents of major development projects in the area and will include an application for anyone interested in becoming a member of the CDC board.

It will also keep entrepreneurs abreast of their peers’ business accomplishments – something that’s especially important among the neighborhood’s large East African, Southeast Asian and Eastern European immigrant populations, he said.

“(Immigrant populations) don’t always like to talk about their activities,” Kokodoko said. But their business success stories, he said, “encourage immigrants that things like that are doable and are not out of reach.”

Articles in the newsletter will be written by Kokodoko, another CDC staff member and an intern. The CDC has developed a mailing list of community leaders, local business owners and residents, and stacks of the newsletter will be available outside public buildings such as libraries and restaurants.

Kokodoko said he will print about 300 issues this month.

 

Sarah Brouillard covers West
Bank neighborhoods, and welcomes
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