By Erick Roder 3/17/22
There’s been an exciting development in the entrepreneurial community in Fargo recently! Josh and I got the chance to help celebrate the Prairie Den’s grand opening last week. The Praire Den’s bigger and better coworking and event space is hosted in the historic Black Building in downtown Fargo. Emerging Prairie, Emerging Digital Academy, and more businesses call the Black Building home. (Fun facts: The Black Building was built 91 years ago by George M. Black, and the top floor was designed and built for the WDAY AM radio studios.)
This day-long event kicked off with a great StartupBREW event. The event was kicked off by Brad Schlossman, grandson of George M. Black and CEO of West Acres Development. He shared the neat history of how the Black Building came to be. Mike Allmendinger, president of Kilbourne Group, spoke about his start in landscape architecture, Kilborne’s passion for saving historic buildings downtown, and more. Chris Hawley of Craftwell Architecture + Construction spoke about his journey to becoming an architect and entrepreneur.
Both Josh and I made an appearance at the lunch hosted by Emerging Digital Academy. I love pizza (just about as much as tacos), so I was excited to grab a slice and chat with the fantastic folks attending. I had the pleasure of sitting with members of the graduating Fortran cohort. We all got to sample North Dakota-made Charlie’s Chow and Dot’s Pretzels while we were visiting. The EDA’s revamped classroom was showcased during their lunch. This space is swanked out for teaching software engineering and has so much more room for activities. As always, these EDA students are doing amazing things with code. They’ll be hitting the workforce soon, so if you’re looking to hire some software engineers like we are, I would suggest attending events like this and keeping an eye on EDA!
I had to leave after lunch because Josh wouldn’t let me eat pizza and puppy chow all day. For others who made it in the afternoon, Kilborne Group led a tour of the Black Building’s facilities. It is incredible how a historical building can be updated and made fresh while keeping its old charm. There was also a happy hour hosted by the Grand Farm and Kilborne Group to round out the day. What an eventful and jam-packed day! Thanks to all those involved in throwing this celebration. Events like these help keep our tech, art, and small business communities connected and strong.