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John Ewoldt

Reporter | Consumer news
phone: 612-673-7633
John Ewoldt searches the Twin Cities and beyond for bargains and strategies to spare consumers time, money and hassles.
Recent content from John Ewoldt
Deb Rasinski had a sneak peek Tuesday at the Fresh Thyme Farmers Market opening in the Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis.

Fresh Thyme opens its seventh Twin Cities store in Minneapolis

The next store to open in Minnesota will be Rochester in 2019.
Many snow-removal contracts expired March 31. With a major snowstorm about to hit, people in the Twin Cities and much of the state looked for contract

Did your snow-removal contract expire on March 31? Try an app

Shoveling out from a 10-inch snowstorm is no big deal in midwinter — for people with a snow-removal contract.But many of those seasonal contracts ended…
Rapidly growing Mulberrys has carved out a niche with eco-friendly dry cleaning. “You have to re-imagine the whole experience,” founder Dan Miller

To survive, dry cleaners hit refresh

With eco-friendly products, self-serve kiosks and home delivery, Minnesota cleaners are rethinking the experience.
Dave and Mary Angell walked Nash, their peppy golden retriever, on a Sunday morning at Rosedale Center in Roseville.

Rosedale's winter indoor dog walks are going year-round

Rosedale Center in January started allowing people to walk their dogs inside the mall for two hours on Sunday mornings before the stores open at 11. It appears to be the only mall in the country doing such a thing.
Fleet Farm has changed some of its marketing and backgrounding policies for guns.

Fleet Farm quietly changes policies for selling guns

It will stop advertising assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines, but will still sell them.
Rendering shows the exterior of the Restoration Hardware showcase store that will be built on the southwest corner of Southdale Center in Edina.

Design changes to cause slight delay at new Restoration Hardware store in Edina

The luxury furniture and design retailer now plans a shorter building with cafe dining on the roof.
Bloomington-based Gander Outdoors, formerly known as Gander Mountain, is planning to reopen six stores in Minnesota.

Gander Outdoors offers a surprise as it reopens six Minnesota stores this year

Eden Prairie site saved by a rerouting of proposed Southwest light-rail line.
Dan McCurley, top left, served to Britt Busch as they played a game of pingpong in the game area after lunch Tuesday at Hy-Vee’s $5.2 million new te

As shoppers migrate online, Hy-Vee wages fight to draw tech talent to Iowa

Fast-growing grocer has built a $5 million IT workspace with free snacks, gym and a "Big Bang Theory" lounge.
The Salvation Army is acting as a distribution hub for Super Bowl LII leftovers. Above, marketing director Michelle Wong with some of the donated item

Twin Cities charities divert tons of waste from Super Bowl

Twin Cities nonprofits have kept the Super Bowl leftovers from landfills.
Supervalu will open the first Cub anchoring an housing complex at 46th and Hiawatha. (Provided by Supervalu)

Cub to open first small, urban concept grocery store in Mpls. in 2019

It's a growing trend in retail, and Supervalu says it will be "unlike anything you'll see in any Cub."

Famous Dave's posts loss as work on new concept continues

Same-store sales climbed slightly, but overall sales continued to slide.
Love Your Melon comes in many colors.

Love Your Melon will open first store in Minneapolis' North Loop

The business started as part of a college entrepreneurship class, with a mission to improve the lives of kids battling cancer.
A since-closed Rainbow Foods in Minneapolis.

Rainbow Foods is closing in Richfield, leaving just one Twin Cities grocery hanging on to the name

Maplewood store will stay open, Supervalu says.
Macy's started its Backstage discount store line in New York three years ago.

Macy's first Minn. outlet will be inside the store it already has at Maplewood Mall

Macy's Backstage will take up the first floor of its Maplewood full-line store starting March 24.
The Galleria in Edina is picking up Filson and Shinola stores, brands that shared a location in the North Loop of Minneapolis until last week.

Popular North Loop neighborhood loses another retail tenant to the Galleria in Edina

North Loop retail is losing Filson and Shinola to the Galleria in Edina.
Groos

John Groos, special education pioneer, dies at 91

He was responsible for implementing the 1957 Special Education Law that required education services be provided for children and youths with disabilities.
An activist shareholder is now pressing for Supervalu to breakup.

Activist investor at Supervalu goes another step, urging breakup

Supervalu responds that it is already reshaping itself to emphasize its stronger business.
WSI owner Joel Wiens has turned his attention, after 30 years of cold-weather focus, to other seasons and other athletes.

Wiens Sports International, a cold-weather gear specialist, is looking at other seasons

Cold-weather gear specialist WSI is getting ready to change seasons
Some consumers buy big screen TVs during Super Bowl weekend -- and then take them back.

Buy TV. Watch Super Bowl. Return TV. It still happens.

Retailers see an uptick in returns after the game.
Gary Newman, a Red Owl produce and merchandise manager for 30 years, has a man cave set up with store memorabilia.

Gone 30 years, Red Owl supermarkets still live on in Minnesotans' memories

Ex-employees remember the store and its iconic owl with affection.
Product design director Jason Engelman arranged some of the new Eyebobs line of sunglasses in the prototype store in Minneapolis.

Eyebobs envisions bigger retail presence and audience

Eyebobs will open new stores in Mall of America and Orlando this year.
Stores in Rosedale and in St. Paul on Grand Avenue will remain open.

J. Crew shuttering its Mall of America, Southdale stores

The stores, which will close on Jan. 27, put merchandise on sale now.
Walmart is closing Sam's Club warehouse stores in St. Louis Park and Moorhead, Minn., part of a broader closing of about 60 stores around the country.

Walmart closing Sam's Club in St. Louis Park, about 60 others in U.S.

The store in Moorhead, Minn., will also close. They'll reopen Friday and remain for a few weeks until permanently closing.
Behind strong sales at stores like this Stillwater Cub Foods, Supervalu had been projecting a big turnaround in this fiscal year from last.

Supervalu back in the black, but its businesses still diverge

The retail division, including its main banner Cub Foods, gave up more sales.
A look inside a CMX theater, which has fewer seats, in Skokie, Ill.

New Mall of America movie theater to charge $25-plus per luxury seat

With jobs posted now, CMX looks to begin service by March.
MindWare vice president Jonathan Staruck peered through one of the Roseville company’s toys, Q-Ba-Maze, a marble run. “We’re helping young minds

Roseville-based toy company's stress on learning with fun pays off at Christmas time

MindWare, maker of brainy toys, outperformed other such firms this holiday.
Air travelers pass through one of the main shopping areas in Terminal 1 at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The airport remade its reta

For those with flights, MSP's retail makeover is making its holiday-season debut

MSP has been earning plaudits for its revamped shopping options for travelers
Ex-quarterback Brooks Bollinger said while pro athletes make most of their money while they’re in their 20s, they need to save “like they’re 55.

Former Vikings QB Brooks Bollinger is financial planner for fellow athletes

After spending six years in the NFL as a quarterback, including a stint with the Vikings in 2006 and 2007, Brooks Bollinger struggled to find…
An elf house is but one of the displays magician Matt Dunn set up in front of his house in Plymouth for the holidays.

Nostalgic for Dayton's annual holiday show? Drive by a piece of it in Plymouth

Magician Matt Dunn of Plymouth has re-created scenes from the 1989 "Cinderella" show in his front yard.
Anne Lippin, left, and Heidi Ritter, volunteers and board members of Steeple People, with equipment in the new space they found for the nonprofit thri

Steeple People thrift will reopen in new Minneapolis location

The nonprofit group hopes to start accepting donations next month and open its new thrift store in February.
Gander Outdoors, the rebranded Gander Mountain outdoors chain, will open a store in Lakeville on Wednesday. The company's webpage, shown here, has als

Gander Outdoors to open in Lakeville at site of bankrupt Gander Mountain

From the ashes of the Gander Mountain bankruptcy, a new store will emerge Wednesday in Lakeville.Gander Outdoors opens midafternoon in the same location at 16861…
The Cub bear delivered bags of groceries via Instacart in 2015.

Supervalu expands Instacart program to all of its retail stores

Delivery service now available at all stores.
Curio CEO Anne Sempowski Ward said Thymes’ Frasier Fir products have become part of many families’ holiday traditions.

The Frasier Fir candle, the 'smell of Christmas,' started in Minnesota

Retailers say the secret to Frasier Fir is the scent's ability to evoke fond memories.
Michael Engel, with Marsh Heating and Air Conditioning, tuned up a furnace Thursday. Marsh recommends a second opinion if a furnace is red-tagged.

Don't be fooled by the furnace company offering a red-tag special

Get a second or third opinion when costly furnace repairs or replacements are suggested.
Visitors wore funny hats and sunglasses as they played a game of Wheel of Phrases at the Game Show Battle Room last month in Golden Valley.

Come on down! You're the next contestant on Game Show Battle Rooms in Golden Valley

'Game Show Battle Rooms' mixes game-show nostalgia, participation in a novel team-building activity
The first rush of customers piled into MN Home Outlet in Burnsville at 6 a.m. on Friday. About 100 shoppers were lined up when it opened.

Burnsville small business attracts big-box-sized crowds on Black Friday

Home improvement liquidator MN Home Outlet makes its deals last all week.
TVs are among the most sought-after Black Friday deals, and Hunter Harvey and his dad, C.J. ,were part of the trend last year at a Target in Massachus

Want a TV on Black Friday? How to separate the doorbusters from the duds

Behind all the excitement of a bargain buy can be a product that isn't up to standard.
Jim Fiorentino shown in 2004 in the Minneapolis warehouse where he restored and preserved cuckoo clocks. Pictured in the display case he built are pre

Jim Fiorentino, who restored cuckoo clocks, built North Loop museum for them, dies at 94

Fiorentino died Sept. 30 at age 94 after a short illness.
Doug Raney, an electronics team member with Target, helped the Quach family, of Prior Lake, locate items on their 2016 holiday shopping wish list.

Twin Cities holiday shoppers spend less, spend late compared with rest of U.S.

Surveys find Twin Cities consumers plan to spend less than rest of the U.S.
A Costco employee in Woodbury prepped the store for its opening Wednesday. The company has been looking for a suitable site in the city since 1999.

Costco, after years of looking for the right site, will open a store in Woodbury

Warehouse store opening in Woodbury, with business center coming to Minneapolis.
Famous Dave's is getting a new main investor and a new CEO. The last time it had a top executive lead for more than 18 months was in 2012.

Another year, another CEO at Famous Dave's

No leader has lasted more than 18 months at the BBQ chain since 2012.
Colorful fruits and vegetables, many supplied locally, dominate the selection at Fresh Thyme stores. The newest Twin Cities location of the Chicago-ba

Fresh Thyme opens in St. Louis Park after months of delay

After some delay, St. Louis Park gets a new grocer to compete with major chains.
The new Hy-Vee in Shakopee has a larger seating area in its restaurant and coffee shop area.

Hy-Vee opens 8th metro store in Shakopee Tuesday, then plans to ease up

Chain to tap the brakes a bit on opening new Twin Cities stores amid upheaval in grocery industry.
The Brooklyn Park Mills Fleet Farm store, and all of the company’s other stores, were ready Thursday for Minnesota’s firearms deer-hunting season.

Mills Fleet Farm picks up pace with new owners

With its new owner, Mills Fleet Farm expands its reach with bricks and mortar and online.
Hy-Vee is moving plans for a distribution center in Austin, Minn., to the back-burner as it concentrates on new fulfillment and food-preparation sites

Hy-Vee delays Austin distribution center, makes plan for Twin Cities fulfillment center

The changes are due to customers looking for faster, fresher options, the company said.
An activist investor is seeking changes at Supervalu, including the sale of real estate and about one-third of its grocery stores. The Eden Prairie-ba

Activist investor pushes for major shake-up at Supervalu

The investment firm dubbed the company's financial performance "abysmal" and urged the board to sell off a third of the Eden Prairie-based company's stores and bring in new leaders.
In past years, questions ranged from whether children deserved an inheritance to whether a health savings account is a good idea. Last year’s event

Minnesota financial planning group prepares for annual event to help savers and investors

401(k)? Debt? Inheritance issues? Money experts can help Saturday.
Duluth Pack and Minnetonka Moccasin on Monday began selling products that they jointly designed, the first collaboration between the two Minnesota fas

Duluth Pack, Minnetonka Moccasin team up for new line of bags, moccasins

Duluth Pack, Minnetonka Moccasin team up to produce a limited edition line of slippers and bags for holidays.
Chad Ferguson, president of Cub's retail west division and Anne Dament, senior vice president of retail of parent company Supervalu Inc., at the popco

Remodeled Cub grocery in Stillwater tests new concepts

Fresh popcorn, grab-and-go foods, broader line of merchandise is its answer to Hy-Vee incursion.

Supervalu tilts its business structure further toward wholesale

The company announced another acquisition in its wholesale division, Associated Grocers of Florida.
Z Gallerie will open at Galleria in spring 2018. (Provided by Z Gallerie)

Galleria to add Z Gallerie home furnishings and two local pop-ups

The Edina mall will be 51 percent home goods stores when latest firm opens.
Liz Mugford, a buyer for the General Store in Minnetonka, organized displays designed to create a cozy and enticing customer experience.

Small, local retailers battle hard for customers

Small retailers sharpen skills to keep their customers coming back.
Two of the simulators of earth-moving equipment that will be featured at Extreme Sandbox Mini, opening next month in Rosedale Center.

Rosedale will open an indoor version of Extreme Sandbox in November

Malls are bringing in new entertainment concepts to provide experiences that can't be found online.
Snowblower storage is popular in summer and makes way for lawn mowers in winter.

Winter is coming, and storing seasonal toys and tools has become big business

Midwest seeing jump in the businesses involved and the services they offer.
Delta Air Lines is thinning the ranks at the highest level of its frequent flier program by raising the threshold that a credit card can be used to re

Delta Air Lines makes Diamond status even harder to achieve

Loyalty program qualification balloons from $25,000 to $250,000 in American Express SkyMiles purchases.
Steve Burwell is the owner of Fairview Wine and Spirits in Roseville.

Fairview Wine in Roseville, which battled nearby Total Wine, to close

Steve Burwell's store opened in 1985, and the competition moved nearby in 2014.
Hy-Vee, which has opened several stores in the Twin Cities over the past two years, is looking at building a distribution center in Austin, Minn.

Hy-Vee's growth in the Twin Cities could get a boost from giant Austin facility

The 1-million square foot facility would be its first distribution center outside of Iowa.
Rosedale Herbergers store grand re-opening celebration on September 13, 2017 in Roseville.

Bon-Ton sheds Herberger's Rosedale store in $19 million deal

The company attempted a sale and lease-back of the same location last year.
The remodel of Rosedale’s Herberger’s was the first since the store arrived at the mall in 1999. Herberger’s is owned by Bon-Ton stores.

With Herberger's remodel done, Rosedale moves on to what's next

Enhancements include more lighting, centralized dressing rooms with more seating for friends and family, open concept cosmetics areas and some larger departments.
The Lake Home area of the new Design Within Reach store at the Galleria has a Minnesota vibe. The modern furniture retailer is the newest tenant in th

Galleria in Edina adds Design Within Reach, a Connecticut-based seller of furniture

The modern offerings at Design Within Reach add to furnishings footprint at Edina's destination mall.
The Baja Sol Tortilla Grill at the Quarry shopping center in northeast Minneapolis sat empty and closed Thursday afternoon.

Baja Sol restaurants close without notice

Local chain made no public announcement but all seven of the Twin Cities locations have suddenly closed.
The new two-story Nordstrom Rack opens Thursday in the IDS Center.

Downtown Minneapolis ready for boost from Nordstrom Rack opening

No other Racks are on deck in the Twin Cities, but the Mall of America location will be remodeled.
Mark, Paul, Alma and Donnie Wahlberg in "Wahlburgers"

Hy-Vee makes deals with Wahlburgers, Orangetheory Fitness

The Des Moines-based chain that is growing fast in the Twin Cities will add burger outlets and fitness centers.
Julio Garcia Sanchez blows bubbles at fairgoers as they pass his Dandy Souvenirs stand, one of eight of that vendor's locations at the Minnesota State

Which nonfood booth at the State Fair generates the most cash?

It's one that appeals to another primal craving: the need for cash — potentially lots of it.
Avocados were cut in price at the Whole Foods Market grocery in downtown Minneapolis, one of dozens of items that were marked down on the first day th

Whole Foods cuts prices after Amazon deal, with sellouts in downtown Mpls.

Whole Foods slashed prices in an attention-getting first day of business after its new owner, Amazon.com Inc.'s, officially took control. The companies signaled the selective cuts last week.
Vija Vilks Davidsons

When being a doctor was not an option, she became a nurse

In 1944, when Vija Vilks was 15, she and her family left her native Latvia to escape Russian occupation. They started to leave by land,…
An auction of Famous Dave's items is a potential bargain bonanza for gas fryers, smokers, bar tables, wooden chairs, booths, holding cabinets, ovens,

Revolving door of restaurant closings keeps auction houses busy

"I don't think we've ever seen such an aggressive, persistent number of closures as we've seen in the last six to 12 months," a 30-year veteran of restaurant auctions says. Auction houses are thriving, including those in the Twin Cities.
Rows of bathroom vanities in MN Home Outlet's warehouse location.

Check out these home hardware liquidators

Brand Name Deals (8024 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Park, 763-210-5833). A new location includes home improvement. Building Materials Outlet (3045 Sibley Memorial Hwy., Eagan,…

Sales declines fell at a slower rate at Famous Dave's, and execs aim for turnaround

Barbecue chain has cut expenses, closed six sites since beginning of year.
In this Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, photo, Jake Wilson, owner of Top Class Lawn Care, mows a lawn on a job in Kansas City, Mo.

When an app is too hard, Alexa will order your lawn service

Plowz & Mowz believes the voice-activated assistant will make scheduling the "easiest" it has ever been.
A crew rolled a display of fresh produce to the front of the store Monday afternoon.

Twin Cities' seventh Hy-Vee store opens in Cottage Grove on Tuesday

The seventh area store, opening in Cottage Grove on Tuesday, is designed with millennial tastes in mind
Supervalu CEO Mark Gross says the company is not looking to sell Cub. Instead, it is upgrading stores to take on new competitors, notably Iowa-based H

Supervalu plots to keep Cub Foods on top in the Twin Cities

The biggest grocery chain in the Twin Cities — Cub Foods — has half the market share it did 20 years ago. Can it remain the market leader? The person who is ultimately responsible for Cub's future says it can.
Supervalu’s wholesale division boosted sales by more than 12 percent in the first quarter, which helped offset the poor performance of its retail si

Supervalu's profit and sales leap, as wholesale business again outshines retailers like Cub

The company's share price jumped 15 percent despite a weak retail performance.
A pile of dead dehumidifiers was stacked up and readied for recycling at J.R.’s Advanced Recyclers in Inver Grove Heights.

Are dehumidifiers working for fewer summers? Growing recalls frustrate consumers

As summer weather turns hotter and more humid, more consumers are discovering their dehumidifiers aren't as trusty as those in basements past.
Sweet Martha's is by far the biggest food seller at the Minnesota State Fair.

How much do top State Fair vendors make? It's millions for some, report says

Sweet Martha's gobbles up more than 8 percent of the fair's food revenue with $4 million.
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