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Biz Buzz: Crisp & Green announces it will open in the Brainerd area

The Minnesota-based restaurant chain describes itself as fast, casual and healthy and is expanding by 10 locations in the state within the next two years.

Views of Crisp & Green food bowls.
Crisp &amp; Green reports it has delivered year-over-year growth by providing nutritious, made-from-scratch food in a fast and convenient setting.<br/><br/><br/>
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A new restaurant, which describes itself as fast, casual and healthy, announced it is coming to the Brainerd area within the next two years.

Crisp & Green is expanding its operation by adding 10 additional Minnesota locations, including one in the lakes area.

Thursday, April 7, Steele Brands, a Minnesota-based company that reports it is developing healthy lifestyle brands, announced the expansion is in response to increasing demand for more stores outside of the Twin Cities. With the added 10 restaurants in development outside the Twin Cities, Crisp & Green will have 31 sites in the state. The other added locations include Duluth, Lino Lakes, Mankato, Prior Lake/Savage, St. Cloud, St. Louis Park, Roseville, Rogers and White Bear Lake. Eight locations will open in 2022, nine in 2023, and the remaining four will open in 2024. The Brainerd location is expected to open by 2024.

Two women stand outside a Crisp & Green restaurant.
Crisp &amp; Green is expanding its operation by adding 10 additional Minnesota locations, including one in the lakes area by 2024.<br/><br/>

It’s substantial growth for a company established in 2016 by Steele Smiley, founder and CEO of Steele Brands, stated in a news release that as a lifelong wellness entrepreneur, he started Crisp & Green to fill a void in his healthy lifestyle. Images on the Crisp & Green website include a large group gathering outside a Crisp & Green location for an outdoor group yoga session. The business has a host of free events listed across its locations.

"CRISP & GREEN started as a dream and a place for me, my friends and my neighbors to finally have access to healthy food on the go. Never did I imagine it would grow to the size it is now," Smiley stated in the release. "While my team and I have worked extremely hard, none of this could have happened without the people of Minnesota supporting us, putting us on the map, and making us the No. 1 healthy fast-casual brand in the state.”


The company reports it has delivered year-over-year growth by providing nutritious, made-from-scratch food in a fast and convenient setting.

“More than just great food, the company places special emphasis on its ‘Commitment to Community'’ brand pillar by partnering with local fitness experts to provide complimentary classes to their guests. Throughout the past five years, CRISP & GREEN has hosted thousands of participants at more than 1,000 events nationwide, creating a devoted following and helping to make it one of the fastest-growing quick service restaurants (QSR) in the country.”

Representatives for Crisp & Green stated the company is negotiating for space in the Brainerd area but that is not yet finalized.

So what do lakes area residents and visitors have to look forward to? The menu shows a selection of food that should appeal to a host of customers with signature salads, smoothies, grain bowls, build your own, and children’s meals. There are vegan options and gluten free.

A screenshot of Crisp & Green menu.
Crisp &amp; Green has signature salads, grain bowls, smoothies, beverages, a kid's menu and some desserts.

Salads include roasted and buffalo chicken, shrimp, tofu, roasted mushrooms,greens and vegetables galore. The new Pep in Your Step salad has mixed greens, spinach, roasted chicken, roasted cauliflower, radicchio, candied pecans, marinated golden raisins, blue cheese, peppercorn tahini yogurt dressing. The Cinco de light has romaine, arugula, avocado, queso fresco, pepitas, roasted corn, tomatoes, jalapeno, blue corn chips, lime squeeze and jalapeno lim vinaigrette. A Fiesta Bowl includes brown rice, roasted chicken, avocado, napa cabbage, jalapeno, black beans, fajita peppers and onions. queso fresco, pepitas, roasted tomatillo salsa, lime squeeze and jalapeno lime vinaigrette.

In the expansion announcement, Smiley said the decision to double down on Crisp & Green’s growth in Minnesota was an easy one.

"Coastal brands have a tendency to forget Minnesota,” he stated. "They've long considered us

flyover country. But I've always known the uniqueness of this culture and the spirit of our people. To our team, Minnesota is anything but flyover country. It's home."


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Charter Communication reported it has a $20 per hour minimum starting wage companywide. Charter made the announcement in March with the minimum wage, including target commissions for all employees across the company’s 41-state service area.

“The milestone is the fulfillment of a multiyear commitment that began in 2018 with the establishment of a $15 minimum starting wage,” the company announced. Two years ago, Charter stated it would permanently raise its starting wage to $20 by April 2022.

“Our $20 an hour starting wage is an important investment in our highly skilled employees, who deliver connectivity and entertainment to more than 32 million customers,” said Tom Rutledge, Chairman & CEO of Charter, in a news release. “Providing strong, competitive wages from day one, comprehensive benefits and dozens of progression paths make Charter a place to build a fulfilling technology career, not just come to work.”

Charter stated it promoted more than 13,000 employees and had nearly 2,200 employees choose to return to the company after accepting positions elsewhere.

“In Minnesota, there are currently dozens of openings for field technicians, sales representatives and other positions. Interested candidates can apply online or get more information on all area vacancies on Spectrum’s career site.”

In addition to the wage increase, Charter reported its employees can also receive up to $5,250 per year in education assistance, as well as complimentary and discounted pricing on its service.

Target customers will see a new icon in the store aimed at reducing waste. And it’s a timely move. April features Earth Day.


In March, Target announced the Target Zero icon both in stores and online “will signal products and packaging across Target’s assortment designed to be refillable, reusable, or compostable, made from recycled content or made from materials that reduce use of plastic.”

Target reported hundreds of both new and existing products — in its beauty, personal care and Household Essentials lines — will meet that criteria and there are plans to expand going forward. Brands include Burt’s Bees, PLUS, Pacifica are among the first. Target plans to add select products from Grove Co. and the Target-owned Everspring this month.

Target points to this initiative as part of its Target Forward movement.

The Mall of America received the green light from Bloomington for its water park, which is planned next to the giant retail center. This year marks the MOA’s 30th birthday. A yearlong celebration will mark the anniversary.

Renee Richardson, managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson is managing editor at the Brainerd Dispatch. She joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 1996 after earning her bachelor's degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University.
Renee Richardson can be reached at or by calling 218-855-5852 or follow her on Twitter @dispatchbizbuzz or Facebook.
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