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Posts about Retail

See "The Book of Mormon" at the Orpheum for $25 through Sept. 14

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: August 22, 2014 - 2:38 PM

Hennepin Theatre Trust's ad blitz for " The Book of Mormon" at the Orpheum Theatre has been buzzing for months, but the $25 ticket option is a more subtle nod. Tickets are regularly $65 to $173 with fees unless you are one of the lucky persons whose name is drawn in a lottery two hours before curtain time. They can purchase 1 or 2 tickets for $25 each (cash only).

You will need a little luck on your side. About 50 to 100 people typically show up to claim 10 or 20 pairs of tickets, based on availability. People bring their significant other or friend to the drawing to increase the chances that one of their names will be drawn.

Here's how it works: Two and one-half hours before show time, people can obtain a drawing ticket to print their name and the number of tickets desired on it. The drawing is held two hours before the show starts. Winners must be present at the time of drawing to claim the tickets. They must show ID, which will be checked when the tickets are redeemed, to discourage winners from scalping the $25 ticket, said Karen Nelson, HTT's communication director.

If your name is drawn, you are not required to purchase the tickets if you're unhappy with the seat location, Nelson said, but you can't choose another seat. The seat assignments given to each winner are random, so the first person's name to be drawn doesn't necessarily get the best available seats.

The lottery/drawing system is rarely used with HTT's Broadway shows. Only "Wicked" and "Book of Mormon" have done so. Other shows may be subject to a student rush, but Nelson does not expect that a student rush will be added during the show. That is up to the show's promoters, not Hennepin Theatre Trust.

However, those who don't win tickets in the drawing may want to check with the box office to see if unsold seats may be discounted.

The shows runs Tuesdays through Sundays until Sept. 14. It won 9 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and features book, music and lyrics by "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

Twin Cities' Office Depot/Office Max store closings start to leak out

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: August 8, 2014 - 12:31 PM

Over the noon hour on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis Thursday, several people saddled with brightly colored sandwich boards on their shoulders announced that everything in the Office Depot downtown was up to 70 percent off. A store employee confirmed by phone that the store is closing Sept. 6. It's one of three closings in the Twin Cities confirmed by employees but not the company.Everything is currently marked 20 to 70 percent off.

Office Depot/Max expects to close about 400 stores by 2016.The company now has about 1,600 stores. In 2013 Office Depot completed the its purchase of rival chain Office Max. Areas that have both an Office Max and an Office Depot are vulnerable to one or the other closing.

Office Depot has not formally announced any specific store closings yet, but store employees answering the phone Thursday in the downtown Minneapolis Office Depot, the Eden Prairie Office Max, and the Maple Grove Office Depot confirmed their closings. Employees indicated

a Nov. 15 closing in Eden Prairie and a November closing in Maple Grove.

An employee said that Burnsville and Coon Rapids Office Depot locations would also be closing, but managers in Burnsville and Coon Rapids locations would not confirm or deny the closing. Each city currently has an Office Depot and an Office Max location, making a closure of one more likely than in suburbs with a single store.

An Office Depot Max representative would not confirm the closings of any of the five stores. "For competitive reasons we are not providing specific store location information at this time," said Julianne Embry, a senior public relations manager in an e-mail. In an earnings call on Aug. 5, Office Depot Max confirmed that 165 of the 400 locations will be closing by the end of this year. The company expects to save at least $100 million from the closings by the end of 2016. It had previously reported a $75 million expected savings.

Gas prices inch upward. Time to dust off the best savings tips

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: July 3, 2014 - 4:51 PM

Let's assume you aren't going to walk, take a bike or hitch a ride on public transportation. You're going to take an automobile that runs on gasoline. Expensive gasoline.

Apparently those summer blends cost more to, ugh, blend, so what's the owner of a gas slurping, Volt-Prius-Leaf-hating beast supposed to do?

Clip coupons. Pay with a credit card that offers rebates. Fill up on Tuesdays.

Yeah, don't expect miracles when it comes to savings on gas. These tips aren't new, but maybe you forgot them.

1. Fill up earlier in the week--on Mondays or Tuesdays, said Patrick DeHaan at Gas prices typically rise later in the week except when conflagrations break out in the Mideast or the Midwest refinery.

2. Choose a credit card with a 3 to 5 percent rebate on gas purchases. compares some of the best ones.

3. Collect the coupon fliers in the papers from Holiday and Quik Trip. You can save a nickel or more per gallon, but save even more using tip #4.

4. Go to Holiday or Super America stations on Tuesdays when most participating stations will double not only their own coupons but also competitors' coupons. One caveat--if the competitor's coupon says you get a dime off per gallon with the purchase of a car wash, you will need to purchase a car wash to get the discount.

5. Use an app such as Gasbuddy that locates the cheapest gas near you.

Have a safe holiday weekend.

Last minute air fare deals out of MSP

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: July 1, 2014 - 2:10 PM

Saturday I wrote about the high cost of summer airfares. I also included several tips for saving time and money this summer when flying. A couple of them were condensed due to lack of space, including this one: For flights out of MSP, sign up for Sun Country, IcelandAir, Delta and Sprit's e-mail or Twitter alerts.

Here's where to sign up on You'll need a Delta logon and passsword to sign up.

At IcelandAir, signing up for sale alerts is simple as providing your e-mail address. Why IcelandAir? It's a great place to get less expensive fares to Europe.

Sun Country offers Wing It! fares on Tuesdays. Sign up here. Today's fares for the holiday weekend include the following:

 These fares must be booked by 11:59 PM CT (Central Time) on July 1, 2014. (Fares are priced one-way.)

Destination Fare From Minneapolis / St. Paul To Minneapolis / St. Paul
Chicago $60*
July 5, 2014
July 7, 2014
Lansing $60*
July 8, 2014
July 4, 2014
Washington, D.C. (DCA) $100*
July 5, 2014
July 8, 2014
Boston $110*
July 4 & 8, 2014
July 4 & 8, 2014
San Diego $130*
July 3, 2014
July 7, 2014
New York City (JFK) $140*
July 5 & 8, 2014
July 5 & 8, 2014
San Francisco $140*
July 4, 2014
July 7, 2014
Los Angeles $160*
July 4, 2014
July 6, 2014

Galleria adds four new retailers

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: June 26, 2014 - 5:29 PM

The Galleria in Edina has added four new retailers since February, including J. McLaughlin, which opens Friday, June 27. J. McLaughlin offers a tailored, somewhat conservative line of clothing for women and men. The Minnesota location is the only one in the five state region (MN, IA, SD, ND and WI). The company, which has about 90 stores nationwide, chose Minnesota for its strong fan base, said mall retail leasing manager Jennifer Smith in a statement. It is located next to Hammer Made.

Russell + Hazel, Lululemon, Allen Edmonds and David Yurman  opened between February and May.

Existing stores Fawbush's and Pumpz & Co. have remodeled or expanded. Fawbush's boutique completed its refresh in late winter. Pumpz' build-out of a new location across from Coach will be completed in the fall.

Bloomington Total Wine store not expected to open before Nov.

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: June 23, 2014 - 2:15 PM

The Total Wine store in Bloomington that was supposed to open December 2013 may finally open one year after originally planned.

Since December the Bloomington location of the wine superstore has been held up in wrangling with the Bloomington City Council and objections from the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association. Total Wine pulled its application in April and refiled it May 21 with the city of Bloomington to smooth the process.

Those self-imposed delays mean that a public hearing won't be held until late September or early October, said Bloomington city attorney Sandra Johnson. After the hearing the license still has to be approved by the city council. "City staff has agreed to do everything we could to shoot for a council decision in early to late November," she wrote in an email.

Once the license is granted Total Wine can stock the store in a matter of days, but no alcohol can be stored on the premises until after a license is granted.

Ed Cooper, vice president of public affairs & community relations for Total Wine wouldn't speculate on a late November or December opening after all of the licensing issues the company has encountered. But he is confident that the Burnsville location in Burnhaven Mall will open in September.

A hearing on the liquor license in Woodbury (7150 Valley Creek Plaza) will be taken up at a city council meeting on Wednesday, June 25. The Woodbury Bulletin reported that the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association plans to send a representative to object to Total Wine's application.

"We've learned to expect pushback in Minnesota," said Cooper. "It would not surprise us if competitors come to the meeting and ask the city of Woodbury to do their bidding for them. They [liquor store owners] are afraid of competitors."

The Roseville location, which debuted in March in Rosedale Marketplace, is the only location in Minnesota that is open.


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