More Than a Market

23 Aug 2021


At first glance, the new Brand Builders Market looks like any other booth in St. Paul’s Keg and Case Market food hall, brimming with colorfully packaged food and beverages, organic soaps, and dog treats. But the market’s business model reveals that the retail component is just a small facet of a larger, more ambitious enterprise incorporating aspects of a grocery co-op, a startup incubator, and a consulting agency.

“Brand Builders is not a grocery store,” owner Kate LaBrosse is quick to point out. “Brand Builders is all about building, launching, and supporting emerging brands. I believe really strongly that Minnesota, and the Twin Cities in particular, can be the next natural foods hub in the country, so I developed Brand Builders as a way to support more brands in getting visibility.”

LaBrosse designed Brand Builders as a retail accelerator program for “mission-driven natural product brands.” The program launched in 2020 as a division of her Minneapolis agency, Kate LaBrosse Consulting. In May, she added Brand Builders Market, the booth in Keg and Case where she sells products of the brands she works with.

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