He told her he’d head that way… just as soon as he finished boarding up Sisters’ Sludge, which had also been broken into—hours before the Lowbrow was.
Over at the Wienery on the West Bank, a “disheartened” staff closed shop last Thursday after they were robbed twice in the span of a week. When owner Pat Starr called a window repair guy, he learned he’d just finished boarding up windows at the Hard Times.
“I was joking, if he needs some business, he should just come down Cedar Avenue,” Starr chuckles.
A certain amount of liability comes with owning a business in the city. Scott Meyer, who co-owns and bar manages Sisters’ Sludge, says the place has been broken into so many times over the past 23 years it really doesn’t affect them all that much. At least this time, they didn't get anything, and they didn't bust up the shop.
Even still, he says, “We are getting very concerned about the uptick in crime in the area.” Last month a customer left the coffee shop/wine bar and was mugged less than a block away, and the staff is increasingly worried about being robbed at gunpoint. Owners recently emailed John Baumann, a Minneapolis Police Department crime prevention specialist for the Third Precinct, asking about the recent trend in the area, and have yet to get a response.
(CP also reached out to Baumann and received an auto-reply that he’s out through September 14.)
Not everyone has been so lucky. Less than a mile from Sisters’ Sludge at A Baker’s Wife—the old-school pastry spot at the corner of 42nd Street and 28th Avenue—Olga Shogren says the neighborhood has seen a series of robberies. She guesses A Baker’s Wife was the third or fourth business to get hit earlier this summer.
“We were robbed right before closing,” Shogren says. “There were four individuals who came in and went to the back and made themselves at home, punched one of our guys in the face and took the money and ran.”
She guesses it’s the same group of kids, and she says they’re getting bolder: “It’s escalating, kind of … the crime is going up for sure. I’m just thankful that nobody got hurt in a terrible way, but it was a very traumatic experience for our kids, for the guys that work nights. What do you do?”
Business owners don’t really know, other than to keep showing up. “After the riots and everything it’s like, hey, at least we’re not burnt to the ground,” says Starr at the Wienery. Yes, it’s annoying and expensive to replace the stolen phones; yes, he’s bummed about spending hundreds of bucks to replace the panes of glass.
But mostly, he hates having wood over the windows. The West Bank has felt different lately, abandoned. Until recently there’s been no Hard Times, no Palmer’s, no Wienery. “It was really fun to get that going again. It just kind of hurts when you get hit like that.”
Like other business owners, he empathizes with the folks doing the smashing. Video footage from the Lowbrow showed a child—Bray’s best guess is the kid is around 10 years old—with an older person in their teens or early 20s.
“We went from feeling angry to like… this is just a tragedy,” she says. “That somebody is using a child to get into a space and look for money. It just breaks your heart.”