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Friends Opening Downtown Mpls. Space To Tie City Together

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- They are only in their mid-20s, but three young men are doing something big in downtown Minneapolis.

The entrepreneurs told WCCO what they are about to do with a four-story Nicollet Mall space.

Ties Minneapolis is a community that's come together in a unique way. It started when three friends came together. Gene Sanguma is from Big Lake, Tommy Joyce and Stevie Moman are from St. Paul. They met after college, and they just clicked.

"He grew up on a totally different plane than I did and he grew up on a totally different plane than I did, but we can -- obviously we're best friends, now we can come together," Moman said.

Together they planned Sanguma's 23rd birthday. The event was a success, and soon they were being hired to professionally host events.

"We've met so many people just by being friendly and welcoming, where it's skyrocketed our careers," Sanguma said.

Instead of exclusive events, they host inclusive events.

"Every single person that comes into this door, I want to be your best friend, we want to be your best friend, we want everybody to be as close-knit as possible," Moman said.

Ties is their newest venture. They've taken over a four-story Nicollet Mall space with the help of investors like Levi Strowder.

"I really saw, they're beyond potential, they really built something special. I see how people come to them," Strowder said. "They're just so easy to walk up to and talk to, and you just immediately feel connected to them."

Ties Minneapolis
Ties Minneapolis (credit: CBS)

And there will be plenty of space to connect. Ties will have a food court with a meatball shop and pizza options. They will have pop-up art galleries, an Instagram photo-op room, several bars and, when things thaw, acclaimed chef Justin Sutherland will open a new restaurant on the rooftop.

But they are not just tying concepts together. This mission goes deeper.

"Obviously we went through a lot of stuff, what happened with George Floyd, the social unrest and everything like that," Moman said. "We want to kind of be a place for healing, where that everybody can come in here and get to understand each other, that they couldn't do anywhere else,"

They believe the only way to truly integrate this city is to not only work together, but to play together.

"We want to be able to have everybody be under the same roof and have fun with different groups of people, walks of life," Joyce said.

"And to be honest it's on all of us to work to bring back unity within our community," Sanguma said.

So they are doing just that. Three friends tying one city together.

"And that's what people need to see, is that there are places in Minnesota that aren't saying that you have to be here, and you have to be here," Moman said. "It's everybody can be in one spot all together."

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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