Minneapolis in the spotlight: What’s happening downtown?

Chris Behrens, President and CEO
In the nearly three years since YA has moved from Norwood Young America in greater Minnesota[ to the Lumber Exchange Building in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, we’ve experienced a growth trajectory unlike any our company has seen before. At the same time, the downtown area itself has been undergoing its own growth trajectory, and we’ve been thrilled to become a part of this extraordinary community.
Contributing to the council
As a member of the board of directors and executive committee of the minneapolis downtown council (mdc), I’ve been working with like-minded organizations who care about business growth and city development. The council describes itself as “a collection of influential minds focused on making Minneapolis a better place to live, work, and play,” and I couldn’t agree more.
The council recently held its annual meeting, and it was attended by 1,400 of Minneapolis’ best and brightest businesspeople. I was honored to be asked to kick off the Year in Review segment of the meeting, where I announced the new downtown population of 43,456. That’s the largest year-over-year increase in the downtown residential population since 2006. And in those 11 years, our downtown population has increased by 36.2 percent.
Workers matter
One of the reasons for our own corporate move to  downtown was a need to attract and retain top talent for our promotional marketing work with Fortune 100 clients. By 2020, 50% of the Minneapolis workforce will be millennials, which is a trend we’re seeing in our own tech-driven, service savvy organization. We need to offer those career-starters a reason to believe in YA as a company and in downtown Minneapolis as a great place to come to work every day.
The president of the minneapolis downtown council, Steve Cramer, said during the meeting that workforce is a top priority, and that a vibrant, safe downtown is what will keep companies here and encourage new ones to make the move. 
As Steve said, we are no longer a flyover country, but the best city in the country in which to start a careerThat’s exemplified in our continued top ranking in a number of “best of” rankings, including No. 1 fittest metropolitan area in the country, No. 2 for  bicycling commuting and the city with the most parks and playgrounds per capita.
Steve also said that, to keep on the leading path of cities, the council will need everyone’s best thinking. I’m committed to offering my own time, effort and brainpower to help us keep the momentum going. It was inspiring to see the recipients of Skyline awards during the meeting, and to hear first-hand from those who helped make Super Bowl LII such a success. They quoted Jimmy Fallon, who had a live post-game show at downtown’s Orpheum Theater: “The weather was freezing, but this was the warmest place I’ve ever been.” I couldn’t agree more!
Let’s talk
If you’d like to find out how YA can help you acquire new customers, retain the ones you have and create loyal brand ambassadors, I’d love to talk with you. Contact me  to begin the conversation.

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