MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — Businesses in the North Loop neighborhood are keeping a light on during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hennepin Made, a glass manufacturing company in downtown Minneapolis, wanted to create a symbol of hope and solidarity for its neighbors.
Jackson Schwartz, creative director and co-founder of Hennepin Made, said the idea started in early March.
"We had to shut down our sister company which is called Parallel. It's a cafe in our building here and had a fair amount of layoffs, as well, and it was kind of a little bit heartbreaking to go through that," said Schwartz (Parallel Cafe is now offering Take & Make meals).
"We knew that across our neighborhood in North Loop there were dozens of other hospitality businesses that were closed down," Schwartz said. "How can we sort of create a symbolic gesture that says, 'Hey, we're all still here and we're all going to get through it.'"
Using what they had in house, Hennepin Made crafted a gift to go in the windows of North Loop hospitality businesses.
"We came up with this idea of this votive really to send a positive energy to our community members and be a symbol of solidarity to hopefully get through this," Schwartz said.
The Ripple Votive can be found in the windows of 20 hospitality businesses so far. 12-15 more will be given to businesses in the next week or two. A solar powered tea candle sits inside the votive.
"The idea is that when we take action, our actions... have a ripple effect," Schwartz said. "It's a small gesture but if we get them in enough businesses, hopefully people start to notice them and it builds a sense of place," Schwartz said.
What started as a gift, then grew into a way to also help support a community initiative.
Hennepin Made is now selling the votives on its website for $50 each. 100% of the net proceeds will go to Second Harvest Heartland's Minnesota Central Kitchen. The program provides meals to those in need while also giving restaurant workers jobs.
"That's really our message here... by taking action and doing something, it removes that sense of hopelessness and really will end up benefiting our community in some way," Schwartz said.
You can buy the Ripple Votive, here.
KARE 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit kare11.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about the Midwest specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and see what companies in Minnesota are hiring. Have a question? Text it to us at 763-797-7215. And get the latest coronavirus updates sent right to your inbox every morning. Subscribe to the KARE 11 Sunrise newsletter here. Help local families in need: www.kare11.com/give11.
The state of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.