The glassmaker has a vision for its new West Loop home
Glassmakers Joe Limpert and Jackson Schwartz are trying their hand at opening a café, a co-working space and a social venue in an underdeveloped part of downtown.
The two are the founders of Hennepin Made, a glass manufacturer that recently moved from Northeast Minneapolis to a warehouse near the Minneapolis Farmers Market, an area in the North Loop sometimes referred to as the West Loop or West Market District. In the approximately 30,000-square-foot building they plan to expand their business with several other components all under one roof.
Limpert said the ventures provide a platform to show off their products and give guests a glimpse into the glassblowing process.
“You can come in, have coffee, have lunch, witness glassblowing, talk with the glassblowers and then also view our products,” he said. “A large part of the vision is that both Jackson, my business partner, and I have always shared is that we’ve known that glass is such a unique experience that most people don’t get to witness and view much in their lives. And we know that we have an incredible process that we want to share beyond just the products that we offer.”
The warehouse has been home to glassblowers for the past six decades. Hennepin Made bought the building, built in 1955 as the Ford McNutt Company’s glass warehouse, from Brinn Northwestern Glass. A conversation with the owners sparked the duo’s curiosity in opening their own building inspired by the diversity of businesses in their former home in the Mid-City Industrial neighborhood.
Hennepin Made relocated in January and continues to renovate the rest of the warehouse into the other ventures: a café named Parallel MN, an event space named the Holden Room, a co-working space named Hennepin & Co. and a retail area for its products.
The approximately 70-seat café, whose name is similar to Hennepin Made’s Parallel series of light fixtures, will open around the beginning of the summer. Parallel MN will have a liquor license for beer and wine. Kate Gregory will manage the concept. The company will add a patio next year that will open out from the coffee shop.
Next to the café, the Holden Room, named for the street outside, will host groups in a modern, industrial space and is slated to open around the same time. Andrew Yarish, who will manage the venue and co-working business, said they plan to host corporate groups, weddings and creatively themed events. Clients will be able to use Hennepin Made’s lights and add glassblowing demonstrations to their events.
The co-working space features both open seating and offices that will be home to designers, advertisers and other creative clients. Yarish said three of four offices are already taken by a furniture merchant and designers.
Hennepin Made will have a retail space where it will have its own products and possibly other goods from partners and vendors. Outside, the building has about 80 surface spaces.
To capitalize on Hennepin Made’s creative roots, Limpert and Schwartz plan to host Royalston Markets — another concept named for a nearby street — beginning this fall with vendors offering their own crafts, food, music and an educational component.
The entire project at 144 Glenwood Ave. is a big expansion for the 6-year-old Hennepin Made, which has a large atrium, an office and studio and manufacturing spaces in the building. The glassmaker does business across the country, largely drive by its primary client, Minneapolis-based home furnishings retailer Room & Board.
Rather than bring on other partners to run the new businesses, Limpert said keeping it under the Hennepin Made umbrella gives Schwartz and him creative freedom to direct their vision.
“We’re both kind of control freaks. We have a pretty strong vision for what we’re trying to achieve and we don’t necessarily want to be told how to get there,” he said.