Crumb Grabbings | December 2021
Hello Again. Welcome back to Crumb Grabbings. Or maybe this is your first time with us, as I share my ramblings about our Mintahoe Team, where we have been, where we are and where we are going. One of the good things about being my age is that as Dad, Grandpa, Friend and Ally, I can ramble and get away with it, even when I say the same thing twice. Or three times. Or more.
When we started out in 1992, our location at 42nd and Fremont in Minneapolis was minimalist or a little less. We did not have an “office”, just a table near the front door. It was the same table that we used for guests when we were planning events or sampling food for their weddings. Not very classy but it was all that we had. The place was small with equipment that was old. Is there a difference between “old” and “ancient”? Ancient is more befitting. I will always remember the screen door that was never removed, summer or winter. It did not close properly, always swaying in the wind. I drove past 42nd and Fremont a few days ago and that screen door is still there. It was moving with the breeze.
I don’t quite know how but we made some progress over the next two years. Then we learned of a kitchen that was available for lease, a true catering kitchen. We had to purchase the catering business that was renting that kitchen in order to take over the lease. That required money that we did not have. Have you ever gone to a bank to ask for help with nothing to offer as collateral but hopes and a promise of hard work? Our crew worked hard; the progress we had made showed that we did. What were the chances of getting a banker to lend us the money we needed with collateral that did not exist?
We were lucky. I knew of a bank that occasionally made commitments to help businesses that did not have traditional assets to offer as security for the loans they were requesting. I did my best at preparing a business plan that would support our plans, describing why we would succeed. I am certain that the banker had seen similar hopes and aspirations many times. I called Dave Cleveland, the President of Riverside Bank, and asked for a meeting. He agreed to meet at the Riverside branch that was near our kitchen.
Dave and I met in one of their large meeting rooms and one of their commercial lenders joined our meeting. The atmosphere was casual as that is Dave’s style. We chatted and he began to ask questions. I pulled out a paper from my briefcase and handed it to David and the commercial banker, answering the first question that had been asked. Then I reached into my briefcase and handed them a paper that analyzed the second question he had asked. Then the third and the fourth. Dave began to ask another question then he looked at the commercial lender and said “I don’t even have to ask another question because Jim is going to hand me a paper that answers what I am going to ask, no matter what I am asking. I want to make this loan. Please complete the paperwork”. The meeting had lasted minutes and we had the money we needed. Amazing!
A month later we were operating out of a real true, large catering kitchen with honest to goodness catering ovens and coolers and freezers and even two offices. We had taken a step forward but We Had Only Just Begun.
I hope to visit with you next month, doing my rambling. I hope I am not boring you.
– Jim McMerty