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At the recent African American Economic Summit, it was explained that Black Minnesotans can control the $4 billion dollars they spend annually in the state by making “sustainable” decisions on how we spend our money. But since we really don’t control commerce in Minnesota – it’s next to impossible to control spending. It’s unfortunate that Louisiana Fried Chicken is leaving West Broadway Avenue – but more important, it’s a great sign of success for pending future plans of the savvy President and CEO Marzell Harris.
Fast Tube by Casper
by Donald W.R. Allen, II – Editor in Chief/The Independent Business News Network
North Minneapolis (IBNN/Business News/April 12, 2012)…On May 23, 2011, IBNN NEWS wrote a feature story, “Louisiana Fried Chicken Opens in North Minneapolis.” Almost a year later, we are sad to report that on Sunday, April 15, 2012, Louisiana Fried Chicken, located at 904 West Broadway will be shutting it’s doors for good in north Minneapolis.
In a phone conversation today with Mr. Marzell Harris, CEO/President of the restaurant, he stated, “I’ve met a lot of great people in north Minneapolis. I feel like I have a family-type relationship with my customers. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came in and understood, Louisiana Fried Chicken gave a shot at bringing a change to the neighborhood.”
This is only the beginning for Mr. Harris – stay tuned to IBNN for breaking news in three-weeks.
Between May 2011 and April 2012, Mr. Harris employed over 57 residents of north Minneapolis.
To look at the big picture, he made more jobs opportunities in one-year in north Minneapolis than Minneapolis Councilman Don Samuels, Congressman Keith Ellison, State Representative Bobby Joe Champion and of course most of the local social service agencies that focus on jobs and employment for residents of what’s designated as a “blighted” area by HUD.
Mr. Harris was extremely saddened after the May 22nd tornado at the overwhelming benign neglect of tornado victims who were left with nothing, including food and clean water. Harris states, “Regardless if I’m running a business or not, its my duty as a human to make sure people who are hungry get something to eat.” Mr. Harris also assisted in feeding people who were hungry – without funding from a major foundation.
2011 was extremely hard for the thirty-something entrepreneur. During the first months of his grand opening, a north Minneapolis community activist spread the rumor that Mr. Harris wasn’t the CEO/President of the restaurant and that a White man was using a Black face to operate a business in north Minneapolis. This was met by a few customers who had the “fast-food-chicken-mentality” and never understood that Louisiana Fried Chicken – like its sister restaurants across the United States was a place to get “cooked-to-order” fresh chicken, fish, shrimp and fries and in some cases might take a little longer to prepare. IBNN on several occasions witness the arrogant and indignant attitude of some African Americans who have been trained by the fast food industry (very successfully I might add), to demand food and loudly state, “I won’t be back here again.” That’s Black Minnesota’s main problem – is one businesses ice-cubes colder than the other?
Some of Mr. Harris’ customers failed to see his vision and rejected the fresh-cooked-food mentality and never came back. In December 2011, several employees broke into the store after closing and stole bank deposits and cash on hand meant for Monday mornings COD orders. Mr. Harris was threatened but never stop showing up to work.
Public safety was also a top-of-mind issue with the LFC. Some customers didn’t want to patronize the restaurant after 5 p.m. during the winter darkness citing the area at the east end of the Broadway strip mall was unsafe. Saturday nights, which usually are big nights for places like Taco Bell and Wendy’s became a night to close early because of no business. Marzell was also pressured in some cases to purchase advertising in Black media outlets that never followed his instructions – but did what was best for them only.
If this is how north Minneapolis wants to do business, then why would someone even open up a business here?
The Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce never visited Ms. Harris. The West Broadway Area Business Coalition, operated by White females rejected LFC and Mr. Harris’ representatives – and to put a nail in the coffin, why would someone pay more the $20 per square foot in north Minneapolis when you can get prime space in the heart of downtown Minneapolis for less than $15 per square foot?
The good news: Louisiana Fried Chicken is not out of business – they’re just out of North Minneapolis.
Keep it here for my one-on-one video interview with CEO Marzell Harris.