Target Field’s BIPOC-owned wares for sale at Twins games

Target Field’s BIPOC-owned wares for sale at Twins games
Target Field’s BIPOC-owned wares for sale at Twins games

Thousands of Twins fans will descend on Target Field on Friday afternoon in anticipation of the team’s home opener against the Houston Astros. And as they pass through the main entrance at Gate 34 and cross the vast lawn behind right field, they’ll notice a new storefront.

No foam fingers or replica baseball bats for sale there. At Creator’s Corner, it’s all about dog treats, skin care and jewelry.

The Minnesota Twins, in partnership with Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank, created the space within the baseball team’s downtown stadium to promote women and BIPOC-owned local businesses.

There will be a new set of three vendors each season, but this year’s inaugural class is already finding the opportunity life-changing.

“It’s going to do a lot,” said Reggie Carter, one of the owners of the gourmet dog treat bakery featured in Creator’s Corner. “It’s going to be massive for us.”

More than 1.8 million fans came through the park in 2022. Target Field can hold almost 40,000 fans for each of the 81 home games this season.

In 2019, the area Creator’s Corner now occupies featured an assortment of vendors that rotated out each home series during the season. It was a giving-back initiative the team hoped would flourish, given 60{95221ed7c1b18b55d17ae0bef2e0eaa704ccc2431c5b12f9d786c88d1acb538d} of fans enter the stadium through Gate 34.

But after the police murder of George Floyd in 2020, the Twins’ owners — the Pohlad family — made a commitment to improve diversity and social equity. That included closing gaps in business growth and financial resources for businesses owned by ethnic minorities.

A committee of business leaders and staff at the Twins and U.S. Bank hand-picked this year’s trio of businesses: Married couple Reggie and Susan Carter’s “Must Be Ruff”; Sabrina Jones’ Black-owned and St. Paul-based SJC Body Love featuring gender-neutral skincare items; and father-daughter-duo Robert Pilotand Jalayne Johnson’s Native Roots Trading Post, also based in St. Paul, which curates Indigenous art and jewelry.

All three business received $10,000 from the Twins for product development and retail support. The Twins will also support the businesses with staffing from Delaware North, the team’s foodservice and retail partner, allowing the entrepreneurs to maintain operations at other locations if needed.

The Carters said this is their biggest business opportunity yet since starting the dog treat bakery out of their Brooklyn Park home in 2021. Their treats, made from Minnesota farmer-sourced ingredients and meant to extend furry friends’ lives, first sold on Facebook. That progressed to wholesale partnerships with dog-friendly breweries across the Twin Cities and a State Fair booth last year.

Vending at a MLB stadium will not only expose all the brands to local consumers but also to fans from 22 opposing fanbases from cities across the U.S. and Canada.

“The visibility is huge,” Pilot said.

For a small business, a chance to have face-to-face sales and interactions with consumers from coast-to-coast is a rare opportunity, Jones said. Her business, launched in 2015, sells items like foam washes and body butters currently available at spas, clinics, eateries and hotels across the state.

Her products are travel-size, which makes them easy for fans to take home, whether that’s a drive or a plane ride away, she said.

For the 2024 season, the Twins will choose from public-submitted Minnesota business nominations to fill the three spots. But the Twins’ financial investment into this year’s businesses will continue.

“By extension, Target Field is a place for us all to come together and a home where all are welcome,” said Dave St. Peter, Twins president and chief executive. “The Twins remain committed to leveraging our resources to advance racial justice and social equity, and we are proud to partner with U.S. Bank on this proactive step to eliminate barriers to access and opportunity.”