Monday, December 10, 2012

JNS Blog Asks, "Where Are The Praxis Marketplace Stores Promised In 2009 By Glenn Ford?"

Photo, blog post by John Hoff

This meatloaf and various side dishes, served at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, was allegedly a favorite of Elvis.

I ask you, does this dish look fit for a king?

Which doesn't quite bring me to the subject at hand. Back in 2009, Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine ( ran a story about a guy named Glenn Ford of Praxis Marketplace. Click here for a PDF image of that story.

Ford was planning a chain of grocery stores which would be a source of "jobs, pride, power, community renewal, particularly in ethnic urban communities." The article said Ford was planning to open the first Praxis Marketplace in North Minneapolis.

At the time this article appeared, I thought to myself, huh? Who is this guy Glenn Ford? Is he for real? Is he going to do what he promises or is he a flim flam artist? I ripped the article out of the magazine and had it on my fridge for the longest time. For a while my fridge was a source of long-term "to do" lists.

Eventually, I took the article off the fridge and made it into a PDF file, which has been floating on my virtual desktop for a couple years, now. I look at the icons on my desktop and there's the little face of Glenn Ford, holding three bell peppers and touting his vision of grocery stores.

Today I'm snowed in and writing stuff that will auto-publish in the middle of the day on Monday. I can approach stories that have sat upon my mental back burner for a while, cooking.

So today it's time to ask the question, "Where are the Praxis Marketplace stores promised in 2009 by Glenn Ford?"

Ford, you see, has a vision...

...(and I think it's a positive vision) of a chain of grocery stores that would go where the other chain stores fear to tread, into the heart of the hood. Though Ford didn't say so, directly, it seemed like he was aiming to replace the dirty, poorly-stocked and crime ridden "inconvenience stores" that dot the inner city landscape and put something positive there.

Fair enough.

Well, it's 2012. Soon it will be 2013. The article I'm referencing was written in 2009.

Where are the Praxis Marketplaces?

The profile of Praxis on the internet is very limited. There's a Twitter account which hasn't actually sent a tweet, click here. In June of this year, an extensive article was written in Finance and Commerce about how Ford was proposing a grocery store on vacant land near Penn and Plymouth, click here. 

Ford spoke at Macalester College in 2011 and an announcement about the event had a biography of Ford which described Praxis Marketplace as "emerging." I think that word "emerging" means something like, "Doesn't actually exist, yet, but oh, there are hopes and dreams."

Does Ford actually operate a grocery store that really exists? Anywhere? With groceries? At any time since 2009?

And where does Ford plan to obtain the money to open these Praxis Marketplace grocery stores? Public money? Foundation money? Borrowed money? His own money?

This story flashed across my awareness in 2009. Four years (going on five) is a long time for this blogger to keep silent and not raise a question.

Glenn Ford? Where are the grocery stores? And who do you propose will pay for your grocery stores to be built in North Minneapolis? 


Anonymous said...

Request for City Council Committee Action from the Department of Community Planning & Economic Development

Date: July 10, 2012

Subject: Exclusive Development Rights-Praxis Foods

Johnny Northside! said...

That document says Praxis has until December 31, 2012 to submit their preliminary plans.

Anonymous said...

Get your facts right Mr. Northside. The exclusive developments rights are until 12/31/13, not 2012 as you stated.

Johnny Northside! said...

Here. Copied and pasted right from the document in question.
Praxis will submit by December 31, 2012 preliminary plans for initial review by Minneapolis
Development Review and Public Works staff (PDR).

So get YOUR facts right, and take your ADD medication. The date YOU have named is the date they have to get a New Market Tax credit.

Anonymous said...

Copied right from the PDF link you posted:
Recommendation: Grant exclusive development rights to Praxis Foods through Dec 31,
2013 for the Penn/Plymouth properties at 1256 Penn Ave N & 1235-1243 Oliver Ave N.

Again... It states....Grant exclusive development rights through Dec 31 2013.

What part of this Mr Northside are you having a difficult time understanding?

Johnny Northside! said...

We are both right and both talking about different paragraphs in the document, but here is my question. Where are the preliminary plans for initial review that were supposed to have been submitted by December of last year? Did that HAPPEN?

Citizen said...

I'm Glenn Ford and I can answer your questions as respects where is our store. We are scheduled to open in the April-May timeframe of 2014. The hold up on getting our store opened was to do with environmental clean-up and not our lack of interest in the location. Environmental clean up grants take time to be received. You will see construction starting in August.

Anonymous said...

I heard there were already stores in Chicago but there's nothing on the internet about Glenn Ford & Chicago or Praxis Marketplace & Chicago. I too share the concern that a lot of people and their money have been strung along a very long time.

Johnny Northside! said...

Here is an article about money granted for environmental cleanup of the site proposed for the store.

Citizen said...

Johnny, I am not sure if you are aware of how long it takes to get environmental grants. It is quite a long process. Additionally, the grant you speak of is only for a fraction of the $500, 000 it takes to clean that site. lastly, Praxis stores are being presented to investors as a group and frankly it just takes time. if you need more accurate facts, I suggest you call me as the negatives on your blog are not necessary. It chases investors away from the north side and I can attest to how difficult it is already. Glenn Ford - Praxis

Johnny Northside! said...

If you want to contact ME my email is at the top of the blog:

We are much too accustomed to "Uncle Lenny" types on the Northside not to be cynical. Furthermore...

FIVE YEARS? Well, I suppose if you're going to ask for public dollars instead of getting some of your own, things take a lot longer. Or is that not the case?