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Sundance Considers Considering Minneapolis for Consideration

Plus the Strib talks more about change, Room & Board restructures, and a man's experience walking in today's Flyover news roundup.

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Is Minneapolis the next Park City, Utah?

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of important, overlooked, and/or interesting Minnesota news stories.

Sundance Asks for Minneapolis Travel Brochure

The Sundance Film Festival, Robert Redford’s (increasingly less?) indie film fest, has taken place annually in Park City, Utah, since 1978. But its contract with that city is up in 2026, so like any company does, it's putting out feelers to potentially more lucrative civic partners. One of the place Sundance is kinda, sorta, maybe interested in investigating? Minneapolis. And the City Council has confirmed that we want to be investigated; on Tuesday, a committee unanimously OK’d a measure to “submit a Request for Information (RFI) to consider Minneapolis as the new home city for the Sundance Film Festival starting in January 2027.” We’re on our way to being considered for consideration, folks!

But… maybe it could happen? While it’s hard to imagine folks like Saoirse Ronan, Pedro Pascal, or Kristen Stewart posing on a red carpet at The Lagoon or The Riverview (let’s be real, the event would probably end up happening at the West End in St. Louis Park), we do share some symmetries with Park City. The festival typically takes place in January, and while that made for a miserable experience during Super Bowl LII, Park City is also pretty dang cold this time of year—35°/14° to our average of 22°/6°. We could also handle the influx of people; Sundance reports that 86,824 folks made it to the event in 2023, which is only about 12,000 more than the attendance for one of last year's sold-out Taylor Swift concerts at U.S. Bank Stadium.

But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, people! We still remember the heartache of Bloomington losing the 2027 World Expo to Belgrade.

Strib Continues to Talk Change in Editor & Publisher

The newish big guns at Star Tribune Media Co. are talking a lot about change these days. That includes a possible rebrand and name pivot, hiring a new opinion editor for the paper’s, um, beloved Op-Ed section, and adding a (legitimately informative!) new weed newsletter.

All that change talk continues in this new Editor & Publisher profile by Keldy Ortiz. In it, CEO/Publisher Steve Grove says to expect “massive shifts” in the coming years, adding: “I think moving from the model of being a paper of record to a paper of relevance is powerful and one that starts to free your mind to what you cover and where you focus." Yesterday on WCCO Radio Grove confirmed "we're going to evolve our name" (don't be surprised if the big-money ad firm responsible lands on something earth-shattering like "Minnesota Star Tribune"), and revealed/broke down the newspaper's new three-word motto ("SWIFT. CLEAR. BRAVE").

There could also be changes to the Strib's revenue stream, per E&P, with the piece briefly mentioning that the Strib is betting big on sports betting via sponcon from digital content generators XLMedia. Other changes include getting more into communities (“We’ll have reporters on the ground and lots of different places more than we have in a while,” says Kyndell Harkness, head of culture and community) and working through tech challenges (“This was an opportunity to put together goals and a roadmap to really become a modern digital media company,” says Senior VP/Managing Editor Suki Dardarian).

Employees Now Kinda Own Room & Board

No, it’s not an April Fool’s joke: Modern furniture company Room & Board really did morph into an ESOP (Employee Stock Option Program) on April 1. The $588 million Golden Valley-based company is already a certified B Corp, which means it met B Lab criteria for social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. (Take that with a healthy grain of salt.) Now, 1,100 full- and part-time employees have ownership stakes in the company, which will be governed by a board of directors that includes founder John Gabbert, whose family once owned Gabbert’s Furniture (now run by Coon Rapids’ HOM Furniture). Perks of working at an ESOP company include various tax benefits and, as the Wall Street Journal notes in this story on R&B, ESOPs can also lead to greater worker retention. (Again, grain of salt.)

Minnesota Man Enjoys Walking

When asked how I survive the Twin Cities without a vehicle, I frequently joke that my body is my car. St. Cloud-born Bryan Formhals gets it. In this fun story from he reflects on his life of walking around, from his early adventures making his way from a parking lot to the Dome for a Vikings game to car-free stints in L.A. (very impressive!) and New York City to his return to St. Cloud and downtown Minneapolis during the pandemic. (“Downtown Minneapolis felt vibrant to me, despite the torrent of negative news about downtown in the post-pandemic era,” he writes.) As a photographer, he’s been documenting his explorations in pedestrian travel since 2007, when he first moved to L.A. and sold his car. These days, the marketer by day frequently takes time to reflect via his newsletter on how walkability is tied to equity, how walking connects him to communities, and how eye-opening it can be to just take a walk.

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