Too often, people pass by the businesses on Snelling Avenue, near University in St. Paul, without stopping.
As one way to change that, the African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS) group is leading an effort to brand the district that spans Snelling Avenue between University and Minnehaha avenues as “Little Africa.”
Soon, the Central Corridor light rail transit line will run through the area, but in the meantime, the construction has decreased foot traffic in the district and beyond.
Bruce Corrie, who is a business professor at Concordia University in Saint Paul, explains that the branding campaign comes out of the broader, nonprofit-driven World Cultural Heritage District. This emerged as a way to help businesses stay afloat during the light rail construction on University.
The idea is to make the area a destination for ethnic tourism. Here, “there’s a growing presence of African Americans,” he says, adding that it includes about 20 immigrant businesses.
Further, “African immigrant groups are very dynamic and entrepreneurial,” he says. “We want to capture that.”
Full story at the Line.