​Black Business Spotlight: Ties

Photo by Nikki Love (l-r) Stevie Moman and Tommy Joyce

New lounge brings positive vibe back to downtown Mpls

In March, Ties, a new lounge with a rooftop, opened in downtown Minneapolis. The owners have hopes of enlivening the downtown scene following the one-two punch of civil unrest and the ongoing COVID pandemic. 

Ties co-owner Stevie Moman said the downward turn during the pandemic gave him and the other owners, Gene Sanguma and Tommy Joyce, time to plan their next endeavor.

Moman explained, “Once COVID hit, everything came to a halt. We were thinking about how to make a change or how to be a part of the change.” Together, the three started a promotion company called Minneapolis Ties that would host and throw parties at various bars and clubs. 

Yet they always thought about opening their own space. They figured that instead of making money for someone else they could make money for themselves. “We knew we had the capability to be successful at this type of adventure,” Moman said. The idea came from seeing the numbers from sales at places where they hosted.

According to Joyce, investors who attended events they hosted realized that they drew big crowds. Some investors approached them and introduced the idea of them opening their own establishment, as well as the location of the building. The group took a tour of the building on Nicollet Mall and made a quick decision. 

Moman stated, “We wanted more for our lives and knew we could make an impact at a young age. We’re not the smartest…or overly talented. We’re just normal, down-to-earth guys trying to give underprivileged kids someone to look up to business-wise. 

“Some kids do not have the same resources or opportunities as others,” he added. “The role models they see are on TV, like rappers or athletes, etcetera… Not saying that is a bad thing.”

Moman continued, “I am an African American male with dreads down my back and a beard. They need someone who looks like them to look up to. We want to be an inspiration to the underprivileged and a beacon of hope.”

Ties incorporates local foods, art showings, diverse groups and entrepreneurs and strives to provide a safe and clean environment for the community to enjoy, according to the website. 

When asked what the most popular item on the Ties menu is, Joyce said, “By far the shrimp scampi pasta, chicken wings, and pepperoni pizza [Little Roni].” 

The owners of Ties believe their place is popular because attendees can enjoy a fast-casual dining experience with fine dining taste.

Moman told the MSR that their business is different from others because they did the necessary footwork and research. He said the owners visited a lot of bars in Minneapolis, considered what people liked, and let their findings guide their planning.

The Ties experience offers four different levels with four different vibes. The dance floor is in the basement; the main floor is casual; the mezzanine has couches and a lounge-style, and there is also a rooftop. 

“What also sets us apart from other businesses is our willingness [to go out of our way] to attract everyone. We want to be inviting. We wanted to build a place and space for everyone to feel comfortable,” Joyce said.

Moman’s advice to others who are thinking about going into business is to “take your time. Build the right team and have support behind you. Things are not going to be perfect. Do not be scared to learn on the fly, and it’s OK to fail.” 

Joyce added, “It wasn’t about the partying, it was more about building a community. The city has a lot of potential, and we want to bring the positive vibe back to downtown. As long as you are trying, that’s all that matters!”

Ties Lounge & Rooftop is located at 921 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. For more info, visit www.tieslounge.com.