HmongTown 2 Comes To The Sears Building In Maplewood Mall

By Kim Yang


The Twin Cities has long been known for its diverse communities and vibrant cultural scene. One community that has had a significant impact is the Hmong community. With a population of over 100,000, the Hmong people have enriched the fabric of the Twin Cities with their unique customs, traditions, and entrepreneurial spirit. In an exciting venture opening in 2025, Toua Xiong (owner of HmongTown Marketplace in St. Paul) will transform the iconic Maplewood Mall Sears building into HmongTown 2, a hub that celebrates Hmong culture and provides opportunities for Hmong businesses.

“It’s time for us to grow,” said Toua Xiong, addressing viewers shared on 3Hmong TV’s YouTube channel. “It’s time for us to be competitive. I have been looking for properties that would be big enough.”

The Vision For Maplewood Mall Sears

The vision is to create a vibrant and thriving HmongTown 2 that serves as a hub for the Hmong community and a destination for residents and visitors alike. Xiong purchased the former Sears building situated at the south end of the Maplewood Mall for $5.25 million last November. With its prime location and spacious layout sitting on 14, the 170,000 square foot former Sears building has the potential to house a variety of businesses, stalls, a kids area and amenities that showcase Hmong culture, cuisine, and products.

The marketplace will feature a diverse range of Hmong-owned businesses, including clothing stores, art galleries, jewelry shops, and traditional food stalls. It will be a place where Hmong entrepreneurs can showcase their talents and products, while also providing a unique shopping experience for customers. Additionally, the marketplace will include spaces for community events, cultural performances, and educational workshops that highlight the rich history and traditions of the Hmong people.

By transforming the Maplewood Mall Sears into HmongTown 2, Toua Xiong is not only honoring the Hmong community, but also creating vibrant and bustling marketplace where cultural exchange and economic growth can flourish. This venture is a testament to Toua Xiong’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity, and it promises to have a positive impact on both the Hmong community and the wider East Metro community.

“Even though the younger generation would like to buy shoes, a pair of jeans, they just can’t find in HmongTown Number 1,” Xiong said. “It’s going to be maybe a different demographic clientele. It might be different type of products we don’t really find in HmongTown Number 1.”

One key aspect of the marketplace’s potential lies in its ability to attract visitors and tourists. With its unique offering of Hmong culture, cuisine, and products, the marketplace has the potential to become a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic cultural experience. Visitors can explore Hmong clothing stores, art galleries, and jewelry shops, as well as indulge in traditional food.

Moreover, HmongTown 2 offers a platform for Hmong entrepreneurs to showcase their talents and products to a wider audience. This exposure can lead to increased sales and business opportunities, contributing to the economic success of the Hmong community.

Furthermore, the marketplace’s provision of spaces for community events, cultural performances, and educational workshops will create a sense of community and foster cultural exchange. This will not only strengthen the ties within the Hmong community, but also promote understanding and appreciation of Hmong culture among the wider Twin Cities’ community.

Collaborative Efforts For Success

Collaboration is key to the success of the HmongTown 2 project. It requires the combined efforts and support of various stakeholders to ensure its smooth transition and sustained growth.

First and foremost, the City of Maplewood plays a vital role in providing the necessary resources and infrastructure for the marketplace. This includes working closely with Hmong community leaders, architects, and developers to transform the Maplewood Mall Sears into a functional and appealing space that reflects the vibrant Hmong culture.

“The [Maplewood City] Council seemed to show overwhelming support for the new HmongTown project,” said Xiong

Additionally, collaboration with local businesses and organizations is crucial for the marketplace’s success. By partnering with nearby hotels, restaurants, and transportation services, the marketplace can attract more visitors and provide a seamless experience for those exploring the area.

Furthermore, collaboration with the Hmong community itself is essential. Ensuring that the voices and perspectives of the community are heard and incorporated into the planning and decision-making processes can help build a sense of ownership and pride in the marketplace.

Lastly, ongoing collaboration with tourism boards and marketing agencies will be instrumental in promoting HmongTown 2 as a tourist destination. By leveraging various marketing channels and platforms, the marketplace can reach a broader audience and establish itself as a must-visit attraction in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Economic Impact And Job Creation

The transformation of Maplewood Mall Sears into HmongTown 2 not only promises cultural enrichment and community development, but it also holds significant economic potential. The project is expected to have a positive impact on the local economy by generating job opportunities and attracting new businesses.

“Close to 400 people have already applied for spaces,” said Xiong.

HmongTown 2 will create a diverse range of employment opportunities, from retail and hospitality to maintenance and administration. The demand for skilled workers and entrepreneurs will rise, offering a chance for individuals within the Hmong community and beyond to contribute to this thriving marketplace. This influx of employment opportunities will not only benefit those directly involved but will also have a ripple effect on the broader community, boosting local spending power and economic growth.

Moreover, the establishment of HmongTown 2 will attract new businesses, both Hmong-owned and non-Hmong-owned. This will create a vibrant and diverse business ecosystem, with a mix of traditional Hmong crafts and products, as well as modern offerings that appeal to a broader audience. The presence of these businesses will contribute to the overall economic vitality of the surrounding area, attracting even more visitors and further stimulating economic growth.

A Bright Future For HmongTown 2

As we conclude our discussion on the transformation of Maplewood Mall Sears into HmongTown 2, it is clear that this venture holds great promise for the community in 2025.

By fostering collaboration and synergy between the new marketplace and the existing businesses in the area, we can ensure that HmongTown 2 becomes a catalyst for growth. Offering unique products and attracting a diverse customer base will benefit both the marketplace and the surrounding establishments located in and around the Maplewood Mall, increasing foot traffic and overall prosperity.

“Especially since it attaches to the Maplewood Mall, our traffic is going to flow through Maplewood Mall and maybe some traffic will be flowing into our facility,” Xiong said.

Furthermore, ensuring equal opportunities for all community members is indispensable. Emphasizing diversity and inclusion among business owners and job opportunities will contribute to a more vibrant and united marketplace. By actively involving entrepreneurs from different backgrounds and creating a diverse workforce, we can build a marketplace that truly reflects and serves our larger community.

In conclusion, HmongTown 2 has the potential to become a shining beacon of economic development and cultural expression for the Maplewood Mall. By promoting inclusivity, and nurturing collaboration with key stakeholders, vendors and the community, we can look forward to a bright and promising future for HmongTown 2. Let us embark on this transformative journey together and create a thriving and united community at the Maplewood Mall.

“Come early 2025, if there are no roadblocks of any sort, 2025 will be our grand opening,” said Xiong.

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