Entrepreneur of the Month – Manny’s Tortas

Congratulations to NDC Entrepreneur of the Month Manny’s Tortas!

28 years ago, Manny González moved to Minnesota with two dreams: to learn English, and to own his own restaurant. He realized his first dream quickly. In 1998, he read about an innovative, Latino-organized, NDC-supported project coming to East Lake Street: the Cooperativa Mercado Central. They had space for five food businesses, and Manny saw a chance to realize his second dream. Manny enrolled in NDC’s 16-week entrepreneur training program. From that class he developed a business plan, and as Manny says with a contagious grin “that’s how everything started!”

Twelve years later, Manny’s Tortas is a Lake Street staple with successful locations at both the Mercado Central and the Midtown Global Market (MGM). Manny gives thanks to NDC for their continued partnership: “NDC has been really powerful help for a lot of entrepreneurs. My experience with them, it was tremendous. Because basically, they take you by the hand and say okay, this is how you’re supposed to get into the program, get loans, get permits. I knew about food, but the business aspect is totally different, and NDC helps you with that.”

This year, NDC’s partnership with Manny expanded into a new venture: a booth at the Minnesota State Fair. After two years participating in the Midtown Global Market’s State Fair booth, NDC worked with Manny to achieve a long-time goal of securing his own permanent location at the Fair, featuring his trademark tortas and a Fair specialty- non-alcoholic piña coladas, served right in the pineapple. Was the wait worth it? Manny laughs and exclaims, “It was insane! It was beautiful insane. It was work. I’ve never seen so many people! But we were ready.” The fair was a resounding success for Manny’s Tortas, and Manny gives many thanks to MGM manager (and NDC employee), Jeff Alexander: “Oh my goodness! He was like a guardian angel. He was excellent!”  Manny’s Tortas was one of eleven Midtown Global Market vendors that participated in the Fair this year in partnership with NDC  – a service that is part of NDC’s mission to incubate and create broader opportunities for small businesses.

Manny, along with his sister and business partner, Vicki, currently have 12 employees at the two restaurants they operate, and they have cultivated a strong following of torta-addicts in Minneapolis. “The sky is the limit. That’s the vision I have. We can do great things and change neighborhoods. Like with MGM- we’re changing the neighborhood. I think NDC is doing a great job (in the community), doing a lot for entrepreneurs. Sometimes people don’t really know who’s behind it all. NDC is the heartbeat that keeps the whole body moving.”



East Side Pride’s Spotlight

This fall’s East Side Pride’s Spotlight features NDC graduate Lisa Johnson, of Lisa’s Wash n’ Fold (page 4). Lisa's Wash n' Fold

Good News on the Front Page of the Star Tribune

The announcement was made yesterday that the Twin Cities will be the recipient of $16 million in grants and loans for housing, businesses, and development for the communities affected by the Central Corridor Light Rail construction.

Star Tribune’s article: Star Tribune LC article 10_28 (3) or read online

For more information on the award, check out Finance & Commerce‘s article: FC_LC_10 27 10

Grand Opening of All Washed Up

Shantae Holmes (featured as NDC’s Entrepreneur of the Month in July) had the Grand Opening for her new laundromat on the North Side, All Washed Up, this past Saturday. Watch WCCO’s coverage!

Faces of our Fair

Star Tribune video and article interviewing four vendors at the MN State Fair, including Sharon Richards-Noel (owner of West Indies Soul Food).
Read and watch here!

NDC Entrepreneur in the News

Finance & Commerce reports on NDC entrepreneur Shantae Holmes, owner of All Washed Up. Read the article here! 

All Washed Up

All Washed Up, the new laundromatShantae Holmes - All Washed Up in North Minneapolis powered by entrepreneur Shantae Holmes, houses 44 pieces of brand new, energy efficient equipment, including 22 dryers and three sizes of both front and top loading washing machines. In addition to Shantae, All Washed Up has three fulltime employees to manage the business from 7AM to 10PM, seven days a week (office manager JoAnn Bell and attendants Shaurice and Sonia). There is also a seamstress on site and free Wi-Fi with plenty of space to relax while you wash.

The idea for opening up a laundromat came during college when Shantae received a rejection letter from the Department of Human Services, citing a criminal past as a reason not to hire her. Discouraged, but then inspired to not let her past stand in the way of her future, Shantae decided “I’m going to have to have my own business so I can hire myself!” She knew that two essential steps to opening her own business were writing a business plan and securing funding. She was referred to Neighborhood Development Center, where she successfully completed the Microentrepreneur Training program in the spring of 2008, with a solid business plan that would lay the groundwork for All Washed Up. What she hadn’t expected, however, was the financial assistance that would come from this relationship. 

It had been an emotional process going through traditional banks, who all offered different reasons for why they couldn’t help. Through a coordinated effort of non-profit lenders, including the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD), NEON, MEDA and NDC, Shantae was able to obtain the financing needed to invest in 3128 square feet of beautiful potential- an abandoned restaurant that had closed its doors after a shooting five years ago. Shantae has proceeded to revitalize an empty store front, converting it into a clean and friendly business that the community can be proud of.

“NDC has a mission statement that describes me, and the fact that they have a program targeted in my community was very important to me.”

She laughs and proudly exclaims “North Side!”- her roots are here and she wanted to give back. Shantae is hoping to show her community that you can have a second chance in life. All Washed Up will give a sense of renewal, trust, and a level of understanding that the North Side community is valuable, has integrity, and is worth investing in.

Address: 3008 Penn Avenue North·Minneapolis, MN·55411