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Behind the Scenes

November 2, 2021

Small Business Revolution teams up with 3M to transform Minneapolis Black-owned businesses

The Small Business Revolution and 3M have a shared value of helping businesses realize the power and potential of their brands. 3M’s Commercial Solutions Division is in a unique position to help businesses transform the spaces of our Season 6 business owners and elevate their customer experience using innovative graphic and decorative film solutions, applications, and design expertise.

This season, 3M helped transform a handful of the featured businesses including Gentlemen Cuts, the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, and Sammy’s Avenue Eatery. Check out more on how 3M solutions helped each business below!


Barbershops are a community gathering space. Terrell Smith, owner of Gentlemen Cuts, wanted his barbershop to have a classic, but cool, vibe so that every client would feel welcomed upon opening the door and leave feeling like a true gentleman. The design team went to work to capture those elements with a conceptual mood board that was then brought to life using 3M™ DI-NOC™ Architectural Finishes.

Great design aesthetics can be game changing for small businesses looking to attract and retain customers. It sets the tone for the experience, reinforces the brand, and can be a powerful way to stand out amongst the competition. “There’s tremendous value for these business owners to upgrade and refresh their spaces so that when customers return, they feel welcomed and want to keep coming back,” said Michael Welter, lead designer, 3M Commercial Solutions Division. “This season highlights the value of how 3M products can help small businesses and get them back on their feet, so they have the right materials to be successful.”

3M Wall Known as a place of calm and community – and delicious sandwiches – Sammy’s Avenue Eatery has always been a food destination people love. But this fun, memorable customer experience wasn’t displayed in Sammy’s formerly monochrome space. Using fun colors and printed graphics, including a floor-to-ceiling mural with unique quotes and images, the shop became a colorful café that showcases its new brand identity.

“Everyone has career highlights. They’re typically a promotion or a major deal, but mine was seeing the mural going up in Sammy’s because I saw the transformation it instantly created in that space,” said Devon Block, associate creative director, Deluxe. “As a designer, I think so much about how something looks on a computer, but actually seeing it go up on the wall, I knew this was going to be the spot where people would want to be.”

3M also helped re-energize the office of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (MSR) to reflect the newspaper’s modern voice while still honoring its rich history. Printed graphics and murals as well as warm wood tones created a more vibrant and welcoming space. The new branding features shades of red, black and green, colors that are meaningful to the Black community and also bring brightness and positivity to the space.

“Small Business Revolution is so proud to partner with local organizations like 3M in support of small business owners this season,” said Amanda Brinkman, chief brand and communications officer at Deluxe Corporation and creator, producer, and host of Small Business Revolution. “Their design expertise, along with innovative 3M products, really helped support the renovations to transform each business. 3M’s commitment to our own Twin Cities community is truly inspiring.”

The 3M team hopes Season 6 will inspire other small business owners to create change, big or small, to overcome their own branding challenges. With the help of 3M films, these businesses were able to quickly transform their spaces without construction.

“Small business owners shouldn’t be intimidated and think they have to do everything right away. That’s how “paralysis of the to-do list” sets in, and then nothing gets done,” said Devon. “Start with one thing, like graphics on a wall to bring a little life into the space.”

To learn more about how 3M’s commercial solutions products can help transform your business visit 3M Brand You.

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