White Bear Avenue Business Association knows the beat of the neighborhood


For the third year in a row the White Bear Avenue Business Association has helped organize the Heroes and Helpers shopping event, where community members help families from the East Side Boys and Girls Club shop for a holiday meal.

The White Bear Avenue Business Association organizes the White Bear Avenue parade every year as an unofficial kick off for the Ramsey County Fair in July. Last year about 12,000 spectators came to watch it, and each member of the association gets a spot in the parade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are the White Bear Avenue Business Association members most proud of?

Their ability to give back to the community, says Lisa Theis, WBABA staff member, community organizer and the friendly face at the association’s office.

“That is one of the things that is really interesting about the White Bear Avenue Business Association. They really do care about community and the residents here. They really want to give back,” Theis says. 

One of the major community events for WBABA is the White Bear Avenue parade, which serves as the kickoff to the Ramsey County Fair in July. The mile-long parade begins at Ivy Avenue and concludes at Aldrich Arena. 

It’s the largest event in the area, attracting more than 12,000 people last year. As a perk for WBABA members, each member gets a spot in the parade.

“This is a really great opportunity for [WBABA members] to not only showcase their business ... but to also give back to the community,” Theis says. 

Community driven 

While boosting the business community and bringing people together, WBABA is also lending a hand to those less fortunate.

During the holiday season WBABA, along with the District 2 Community Council and St. Paul police and fire departments help families from the East Side’s Boys and Girls Club go grocery shopping for a holiday family meal. The event is called Heroes and Helpers and this past holiday season was the association’s third edition of the event.

“If we can just take a little bit of that burden off of ‘How are we going to feed the kids?’ or ‘How are we going to make ends meet?’, it means a lot,” Theis says. “With the partnership between the police department and the business community it shows that we’re all the same team, and we’re all working together to make a better neighborhood.”

In addition to those two major events, WBABA also raises funds through charitable gambling at The Cherry Pit bar, 735 White Bear Ave., and Born’s Bar at 899 Rice St. “It gives us that flexibility to be able to give back to the community,” Theis notes.

Benefits of membership 

The White Bear Avenue Business Association is a great resource for business owners, as it provides a way to network and share new ideas. Because of the organization’s close relationship with the local district council, business owners hear all the latest news about their neighborhood and potential customers. 

The association can trace its roots back to the construction of the Hillcrest Shopping Center during the late 1940s. WBABA consists of mostly professionals and long-time businesses owners. Many of them are proprietors of small shops in the area.

There is a wealth of history and institutional knowledge that established business owners want to share with new incoming businesses. “They really feel open to mentoring,” Theis explains.

Overall, Theis says the goal of the White Bear Avenue Business Association is to be a helpful resource for business owners and a positive anchor for the neighborhood.

“We try to make things easier for folks if we possibly can because owning your own business can be tough at times.”

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