Transformation in Rondo: Golden Thyme Co-op Ownership

Rondo CLT
April 29, 2024
Rondo staff with the Liberated Land Trust Tour delegation
Rondo staff with the Liberated Land Trust Tour delegation

Minnesota Women’s Press, Sept 11, 2023

When I-94 was built through Saint Paul in the late 1950s, more than 300 predominantly Black-owned businesses were impacted. The neighborhood was split apart, with the major Rondo Avenue corridor — which had been a thriving community — dramatically disrupted. One in every eight Black residents in Saint Paul were forced to move, and many businesses never re-opened.

In recent years, the Rondo Community Land Trust (Rondo CLT) and other organizers in the neighborhood have been working to create solutions to mend what was torn apart. One of those solutions is a co-op structure to buy housing and commercial businesses used to generate local wealth. Formed in 1993, it was the first community land trust in Minnesota. The effort expanded to include commercial properties in 2018, in an effort to reduce gentrification that tends to push local businesses out when space is no longer affordable.

On Saturday, September 9, a public ceremony honored Mychael and Stephanie Wright, who are retiring after running Golden Thyme Coffee & Cafe on Selby Avenue for nearly 25 years. They also co-founded the Selby Jazz Festival, held in the street in front of their business. Ramsey County commissioner Rena Moran read a county proclamation declaring the day to be named in their honor.

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