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A tented grocery store meets essential community needs

Swatches | November 1, 2020 | By:

Residents of Minneapolis’ East Lake Street neighborhood can access fresh groceries, pharmacy items, transit passes and banking services in a 13,000-square-foot tented store that is temporarily replacing a supermarket damaged during early summer riots. Photo: Tom Paule.

The summer season for tent rental companies is usually filled with weddings and festivals, but there is nothing usual about 2020. While many rental companies replaced canceled events with medical and restaurant tenting, Traube Tents and Structures, St. Louis., Mo., also took on the job of installing a grocery store that’s helping heal a community. 

The Minneapolis, Minn., East Lake Street location of supermarket chain Cub Foods was badly damaged during rioting that followed the death of George Floyd. With other grocery outlets, convenience stores and banks also closed from damage, neighbors were deprived of a source of fresh food and other services they depend on.

As soon as Cub was able to safely assess the situation, a plan was created, and within two weeks, a 13,000-square-foot, air-conditioned temporary community store was open for business. Traube Tents and Structures installed a 25-by-50-meter Losberger P3 uniflex structure for Cub Foods and Minneapolis-based experiential marketing company STAR. The structure will serve the neighborhood until the store’s permanent building is repaired (probably by the end of the year), and it will be heated once cold temperatures set in. In addition to offering groceries, the community store includes a pharmacy, sells transit passes and provides access to banking services. 

“Opening the Cub Community Market is one of the first steps in bringing the Lake Street community back together,” said Cub’s chief executive officer Mike Stigers in a statement to the Minneapolis Star Tribune in July. “It’s emotional to hear customers share personal stories of what’s happened to them over the past month, and I couldn’t be more proud of the Cub team who worked quickly to put this plan in place, and get us back in the store to take care of the essential needs of this neighborhood.”

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