Stuart Gray, formerly with Hospitality Rocks, is the new Talent Development Director at Viverant, a company focusing on wellness, from physical therapy to Pilates to dry needling.

Sean J. O’Scannlain, president and CEO of Fortune International, has hired Timothy MacDonald, a veteran of the Minnesota seafood community, to Fortune Minnesota’s sales team. MacDonald is reuniting with Brent Casper, vice president and general manager of Fortune Fish & Gourmet Missouri and Minnesota. They worked side-by-side at The Fish Guys for seven years.  MacDonald has been selling seafood and working in the hospitality industry in the greater Twin Cities for the last 11 years. Prior to moving to Minnesota, he spent as much time as he could fishing and working the docks along the East Coast and California. He brings a unique intensity and dedication to bridging the gap between the supplier and customer. 

Lee Wallace, CEO of Peace Coffee, was selected by the Minneapolis/St Paul Business Journal as one of its 2020 Women in Business Achievement Award.

Birch’s Lowertown, which was inside the Market House Collaborative (the former Heartland site) in St. Paul, closed mid-October. The Long Lake location, which won a Charlies Award for Hidden Gem in 2019, remains open.

Jill Biden, wife of Presidential Candidate Joe Biden, visited St. Paul in October and stopped by Golden Thyme Coffee & Cafe on her tour of the businesses located along Selby Avenue with St Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, according to Eater.

Tea trumps coffee, at least in Northeast Minneapolis where Northeast Tea House has taken over a former coffee spot, sandwiched between a Bruegger’s Bagels and the now-closed Bardo. The serene-appearing shop mills its own macha powder.

The push to unionize Surly Brewing workers failed by a vote of 56 to 20, with 36 abstaining, according to City Pages. The vote was taken October 7. Surly’s plans to close its Beer Hall in November is still going forward, the company announced.

The American Staffing Association has awarded local chapter, the Minnesota Recruiting and Staffing Association {MNRSA), the 2020 ASA Chamber Legislative Excellence Award, which recognizes a chapter that demonstrates the most successful legislative activity. MNRSA was recognized at a virtual awards ceremony in October. MNRSA has a strong record of legislative accomplishments on behalf of the industry. "In the past few years, we’ve been most focused on working with our coalition partners to defeat and minimize additional labor mandates and costs onto our membership," said Deb McMillan, executive director of the Minnesota chapter. "Those have included efforts to minimize protections for employers in cases of sexual harassment, mandated paid sick and safe time and the creation of a new state-run, 24-week paid leave program." The paid leave program alone would have increased taxes on employers and employees in Minnesota by nearly $2 billion.

Minnetonaka-based Famous Dave’s signed a 25-unit deal with Bluestone Hospitality Group to cobrand its BBQ restaurants with Johnny Carino’s, a casual Italian brand. In addition, Carino’s restaurants will serve as ghost kitchens for Famous Dave’s takeout and delivery meals.

Simultaneously, Famous Dave’s will seek to expand its off-premise business by engineering a drive-thru capability.

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