Jim Barnard drove to work Saturday morning unaware of the violence that unfolded the night before.
Steps from Boom Island Brewing's patio, gunfire killed a 42-year-old man and injured three others in the north Minneapolis alley. Barnard had closed up just 90 minutes earlier.
"It would have been a complete innocent bystander just walking out," said Boom Island owner Kevin Welch. "At some point, you have to look out for the safety of your employees."
The shooting was the last straw for Welch, who said Tuesday that he's relocating, weary of the gang activity outside his business at 2014 Washington Av. N.
When Welch opened the Belgian-style craft brewery in a former automotive garage seven years ago, he hoped to be part of West Broadway's transformation. He and his wife sunk their savings and retirement into the business, which built a dedicated following.
While it remains profitable, the brewery has suffered from escalating crime.
Last February, someone smashed out the car windows of regular customers two weeks in a row. Both times it occurred before 9 p.m. Unlike most bars, Boom Island closes each weekend by 9 p.m. for the safety of its patrons.
Welch said he began walking employees to their cars after biker gangs started peddling drugs in the alley. They often physically block Boom Island's gate at night with their vehicles, he said, preventing him from leaving after-hours.
Sometimes he'll nap on the taproom floor while he waits for them to scatter.
"We believe in the neighborhood and wanted to make the most out of it," he said. "But I'm scared to walk out to my own car."
Last weekend was exceptionally violent in Minneapolis. Ten people were shot, four of them fatally, including the shooting at Cliff & Norm's bar, next door to Boom Island.
The gunfire prompted Mayor Jacob Frey to say Monday he's redoubling efforts to curb shootings and other violent crimes.
On Wednesday, Frey said although the city has seen a drop in violent crime citywide, "the improvement hasn't come fast enough."
The mayor said he has spoken with Welch and hopes that he will keep his business in Minneapolis.
As for West Broadway, Frey said he's got plans in his budget for economic development and public safety. One involves working with local businesses to revitalize the street. He also wants to put eight more sworn police officers on the streets.
City Council member Jeremiah Ellison, who represents the area, didn't return a phone call.
The news that Boom Island is leaving is discouraging to community organizers like John Bueche, executive director of West Broadway Business and Area Coalition (WBC). His organization is working to reverse a generational trend of disinvestment in the community by renovating vacant spaces, commissioning new murals and hosting farmers markets and art crawls.
"Sometimes when you're driving down Broadway it's hard to believe that progress has been made, but it has," Bueche said. "The business community is on the rise in the North Side."
Welch applauds those efforts, but says it isn't enough to convince him to stay. Ideally, the brewery will remain in Minneapolis; he's enlisting patrons to help crowdsource the estimated $500,000-$700,000 needed to move.
Two blocks over, Broadway Pizza has remained sheltered from recent violence.
Brenda Rood, a longtime server and assistant manager, said the restaurant benefits from its proximity to the Minneapolis Park Police headquarters. She doesn't remember the last time they had to call the police.
"It's disheartening," she said of Boom Island's decision. "There's a lot of good people in north Minneapolis."
Staff writer Rochelle Olson contributed to this report. Liz Sawyer • 612-673-4648