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Community Planning & Economic Development

Business Profile: Brave New Workshop

Ten x Ten
BNW's Happy Hour Squared monthly community service event has provided more than 135,000 sandwiches to the hungry since 2015. (Source: The BNW)

The Brave New Workshop (BNW) is the nation’s longest running satirical comedy theatre and 2018 marks their 60th year. Aside from delivering their own great entertainment, BNW hosts a variety of events in their ETC space; guest speakers and training for Fortune 500 companies; venue rental and improv training through their school, the BNW Student Union.

In honor of their 60th anniversary, the owners, Jenni Lilledahl and John Sweeney, have declared it the year of gratitude. The BNW hosts a “Happy Hour Squared” (HH2) event, where every third Thursday of the month, they bring together volunteers to make sandwiches to feed those in need in their neighborhood. They call it a "Happy Hour with a purpose," and celebrated the third anniversary of the HH2 program in April. To date, they have handed out more than 135,000 sandwiches via Allan Law’s Minneapolis Recreational Development, Inc.

The next HH2 event is Thursday, May 17 from 5 – 7 p.m. at the BNW at 824 Hennepin. All are welcome.

The owners acquired the downtown building at 824 Hennepin Avenue from the City in 2011 for fair reuse value, with a portion of the purchase price financed by the City at market-rate-terms. A few years later, the City assisted in securing a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan to purchase a new HVAC system and make energy-efficiency improvements to the building, as well as to another nearby building the owners purchased to expand their downtown presence.      

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Last updated May 14, 2018

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