WORD ON THE STREET | Community members share thoughts on Cup Foods

Steve Floyd/MSR News

Opinions differ on the future of the George Floyd memorial site and surrounding area at 38th Street and Chicago Ave. where Floyd was killed May 25 under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. A prominent feature at the site is Cup Foods, the longstanding corner store that has become forever linked to this tragic story.

The MSR took to the street recently to ask community members what they think about Cup Foods in light of what’s happened there? Read their reflections and add your own in the comments.

Photo by Nikki Love Nathaniel

Cup Foods has been around for a long time and this community made them. I’m not so concerned about Cup, but more about us. Just like we made them, we need to make us. Stop relying on the people outside the community and rely on each other.

I grew up on the South Side. We as a people help make any business successful. We don’t need to worry about shutting down Cup ‘cause our buying power will shut them down. Any business that is not giving back to the community, we shouldn’t be spending our money there. We should boycott everything that’s not for us or by us.

Once we understand [that] we are the people with the buying power, we can change any community.


Photo by Nikki Love Niki B

It’s not really Cup Foods’ fault ‘cause the person [who called the police on George Floyd over a suspected forged $20 bill] was doing their job. The police shouldn’t not have been called. The policeman is the issue, not Cup Foods.

Maybe if Cup hadn’t called the police this incident may not have happened…

—Niki B.

Photo by Nikki Love Zack

I was raised in this neighborhood. Cup has always been a family-oriented business. Businesses have the right to call police. People are blaming Cup and taking the focus off the police. Cup didn’t kill George Floyd—the police did. I stand with Cup foods.

—Zack King

Submitted photo B Stewart

Cup is a disgrace to their neighborhood; they never look out for the community and the community is what kept them in business. I believe they gouge their prices, but they don’t see the fault in what they are doing. Making money off the likeness of George Floyd… It was wrong to call the police on an alleged fake bill which caused a man his life.

—B. Stewart

Submitted photo Julian J.

I do not know what’s true about Cup Foods and what’s not. I’ve heard things about Cup but have never had any incidents personally with them. I believe the City should make the site a community co-op or peace garden to represent a memorial for George Floyd.

Cup Foods understands what happens to Black men when the police are called, so why call the police over an alleged fake bill?

—Julian J.

—Questions facilitated by Nikki Love.

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5 Comments on “WORD ON THE STREET | Community members share thoughts on Cup Foods”

  1. I feel the Cup Foods employee did not need to call the police. Also the police could have resolved this too. So both Cup Foods & MPD are to blame. Surprisingly Cup Foods was not destroyed.

    1. Ms Anderson I hear you. This was the first thing my husband and I said. How did it doge a bullet? why was it untouched.

  2. Too often history gets lost, especially where a media fear frenzy is so predominant. Cup Foods had been a target of white neighborhood groups back in the 90s who were working tirelessly to try to “Cleans” the neighborhood. Through that entire time, Cup Foods served with pride the people of the neighborhood; black, Hispanic, and all others. Little old white ladies used to tell me things like, “Oh that Cup Foods makes me so nervous when I go in there”. Cup Foods fought the city in a costly legal battle back then, and won. That caused the so-called, white suburban transplants to re-think their strategies while also asking Cup Foods owner how the white groups might begin to better participate in the neighborhood. Cup Foods stood their ground in those days, and these days, too, to be sure the real community around 38th and Chicago, and its fine people, would be served by a real neighborhood business community. Various of the white, so-called civic group people simply left the neighborhood after that. I know this because I fought the civic groups back then for their injustices. We stood at that very corner, involved with Cup Foods, to let the people of our neighborhood know about how some so-called civic groups, and especially the police in the area were misbehaving. We were involved with radio broadcasts back then, too, that were asking the City of Minneapolis police and mayor to please take a serious look at the large number of police abuses in our neighborhood. But the city was the one that actually needed to be fought against, so they were no better than the white neighborhood groups or the bad cops. The street events, leaflets, radio programs were all because of the encouragement and actions of Cup Foods, under the same, family ownership then as they are today. Please, good citizens, be sure you know who your adversary might be in all of this. There was definitely a rogue cop with a murderous knee, and there have always been City of Minneapolis, so-called leaders, who have turned a blind eye and ear to our pleas.
    I have never personally been so touched and moved as I have seeing the mural and caring activities surrounding that corner, and Cup Foods today. It makes me personally feel like maybe we at least made some kind of impact. Unfortunately, with how terribly slow a city and law enforcement can be with acting upon desperately needed change, some of the greatest history almost seems to be lost to our own, loving eyes and ears. I am not now affiliated with Cup Foods, but I would be in a moment if I could. Unfortunately I might be a little too old now, so I would like to extend the same love and care to you younger people. Reach out, join together with all good folks in the neighborhood. Make Cup Foods our rallying point continually. So true that we have “Made” Cup Foods, and so true that they have helped to “Make” our corner so much more than just another street corner some place. I hope you don’t mind, but now I feel like we all played a roll back then in the future that has now come to be. I finally feel like we can make the difference today that was so needed way back then… together.

  3. I did leave a substantial comment about the history of Cup Foods and the efforts we carried out on that corner. You did not publish it, or try to contact me at my e-mail address. I wouldn’t want to believe that you are intentionally censuring certain comments; especially ones so well-informed as someone who was directly involved? Would you please publish my comment, and/or reach out to me by e-mail, thank you.

  4. I think Cup Food should be held accountable for there actions Like B. Stewart and Nathaniel said. And Julian J. said, Cup Foods understands what happens to Black men when the police are called, so why call the police over an alleged fake bill? and why was everything but Cup Foods was not destroyed? Are you woke yet?

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