Biz buzz // Entrepreneur pitches proposal for new iPhone tool

EAST CALHOUN — Bobby Davis has invested the last two years perfecting a piece of equipment he says will transform the way people shoot videos and photos using their iPhones.

Now he wants to share it.

Davis, a professional screen printer who lives in East Calhoun, has launched an online fundraising campaign hoping to raise as much as $20,000 to produce and market what he calls the ElliptiGrip.

Now a single prototype, the ElliptiGrip is essentially a hard plastic case with finger loops that attach to either the bottom or the side of the iPhone, giving users a better handle on their device when taking photos or videos. The product is explained online at

Davis got the idea for the product when he went to take a video of his son Maximus performing with his fellow kindergartners at Kenwood Elementary. He fumbled and dropped the iPhone, and set out to create a solution.

If Davis can raise enough money through his online campaign — available on the grassroots fundraising site Kickstarter — he says he will contract a local company to make at least 1,000 ElliptiGrips. Donors who contribute
$50 will get one of the first pieces to
be produced.

Davis is giving himself until mid-April to raise the money. And while his marketing efforts have been minimal so far, he says he’s already heard from users and friends who believe his idea will gain momentum.

“If you count the number of iPhones out there it’s pretty amazing,” he said. “Even if I could get just a fraction of them, this thing will be successful.”

If the Kickstarter campaign doesn’t pay off, however, Davis said there are other sources he will consider. For now, though, the push is on to pass the crucial first test of support.

“I wouldn’t be doing this if I wasn’t 100 percent sure it would work,” Davis said.  

Mozaic lands first office tenant

UPTOWN — The Mozaic building in Uptown has announced its first office tenant – John Ryan Performance.

The retail marketing firm, now located at downtown at the Thresher Square building, signed a seven-year lease for 12,400-square-feet on the west side of the building’s eighth floor. The company will also have access to two roof decks.

This is the first office tenant to be announced by the Ackerberg Group, which developed the $45 million building on Lagoon Avenue near Calhoun Square.

The 10-story building has 65,000-square-feet of available office space in the top three levels.

JoAnna Hicks, the Ackerberg Group’s development director, said another lease on a 2,500-square-foot space is nearly complete, and that a letter of intent for a 1,500-square-foot space has also been signed. The building’s top two floors are still available, she said.

The building’s lower levels are being used as a parking ramp with more than 430 public spaces. The ramp, as well as public plaza and pedestrian bridge connecting the building to the Midtown Greenway, opened in early February.

The ground floor is open to commercial and retail uses. The only commercial tenant to be announced is Bar Louie. The restaurant chain is still trying to finalize its liquor license. This would be its first Minnesota location.

In-home personal training comes to Southwest

LINDEN HILLS — Certified Personal Trainer Lori Brubacher has launched Home Fitness for Her, and in-house personal training service that services Linden Hills and the surrounding areas. Brubacher has 10 years of personal training experience and opened her business in January after relocating from Ohio.

“I worked for six years as a home trainer in Ohio,” said Brubacher. “I figured if I can do it in rural Ohio, I can do it in Minneapolis.”

Brubacher offers free fitness consultations to all clients and provides all exercise gear. She works with a variety of populations, including seniors, people who are new to exercise or those who need something new in their workout routine. Brubacher also offers nutritional advice and a discount for group training.

For more information or to set up a session, visit

Minneapolis has strong showing in James Beard Awards nominations

Each year the James Beard Foundation recognizes the best restaurants and chefs from around the country. The 2012 semifinalists were revealed in late February, and Minneapolis had a very strong showing in both the national and Midwest categories.

Minneapolis had perhaps its best showing yet in the national categories. Eric and Andrew Dayton’s The Bachelor Farmer is nominated for Best New Restaurant. La Belle Vie earned two nominations for Outstanding Bar Program (Johnny Michaels) and Outstanding Chef (Tim McKee). Michelle Gayer of Salty Tart is nominated as Outstanding Bakery Chef. Alex Robert’s Restaurant Alma is nominated for Outstanding Restaurant. Richard and Larry D’Amico are nominated for the D’Amico & Partners restaurant group in the Outstanding Restaurateur category. Manny’s Steakhouse is nominated for Outstanding Service. Sameh Wadi of Saffron and the World Street Kitchen food truck is nominated in the Rising Star Chef category.

The Twin Cities dominate the Best Chef: Midwest nominations, claiming six of the 20 spots, more than any other locality in the category. Minneapolis’ nominees include Steven Brown of Tilia, Doug Flicker of Piccolo and Stewart Woodman of Heidi’s. Mike Brown and James Winberg of Travail in Robbinsdale are also nominated, as are Russell Klein of Meritage and Lenny Russo of Heartland, both in St. Paul.

The James Beard Awards will be announced May 7.

New restaurant for Café Twenty Eight space

LINDEN HILLS — The one-time home of Café Twenty Eight is getting new life.

Fernando Silva is planning to open a new eatery this spring at 2724 W. 43rd St., the space that housed Café Twenty Eight from 2002 to 2011. The space is being significantly remodeled, including an entirely new bar, now.

The restaurant, which will likely be called Harriet, will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as an afternoon “tea time” with a limited menu and drink specials. Breakfast will include fresh-baked scones and muffins, and the lunch and dinner menus will rotate based on the seasonal availability of local products. There will also be locally-roasted coffees, an extensive wine list and a focus on craft beers, restaurant owners said.

Café Twenty Eight closed late last year after the landlords decided not to extend the restaurant’s lease. Owner Linda Haug said at the time that she wanted to sell the restaurant to a longtime employee, but that landlords Joanne and Tom Ellison wanted to take the space in a different direction.

New farmer’s market coming to Linden Hills

LINDEN HILLS — Linden Hills is getting a farmer’s market to call its own.

The market will be held in the parking lot of the Settergren Ace Hardware, 2813 West 43rd beginning on Sunday, June 3. The market will be open every Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. through Oct. 28. 

The new arrival comes one year after the opening of the Fulton Farmer’s Market, which will open again on Saturday, May 19. The market runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays at 4901 Chowen Ave. S.

City officials say the Linden Hills Farmer’s Market is the only new market to be approved so far this year.


Veterinary clinic Pet Doctors has opened a new location in the Whittier neighborhood at 25 Franklin Ave. E. The clinic cares for dogs, cats and small animals and features an in-house cat adoption center.

Got a buzz tip? Email Journal editor Sarah McKenzie at [email protected]