Staff Directory 3564869

Eric Wieffering

Deputy Managing Editor | Enterprise and Investigations | News
Phone: 612-673-1736

Eric Wieffering, deputy managing editor for enterprise and investigations, works with reporters and editors across the newsroom on short- and longer-term enterprise stories.

Wieffering's journalism career began in Massachusetts, where he covered city government on Cape Cod. His career as a business writer or editor in Minnesota spanned the stock market boom of the '80s, the technology bubble of the '90s, the housing bubble of the '00s, and the Great Recession. Wieffering directed the Star Tribune's metro news coverage for five years before moving into his current role. He and his wife, Ruth, live in St. Paul.
Recent content from Eric Wieffering
A customer swipes a MasterCard debit card through a machine while checking-out at a shop in Seattle.

Wieffering: Time to get over debit card fees

The foot-stomping frenzy about debit card fees reminds me of a sandbox showdown between 2-year-olds.

For Thrivent and others, warnings were there

Dumb money.
Chingwell Mutombu of Golden Valley, Mn is a regular shopper at The Wedge in Minneapolis, Mn. She stops by daily to pick up fresh produce because of th

With billions in sales, some co-ops are big business

When Brent Heuth and a team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin decided to measure the economic impact of cooperative-owned businesses in the United States, they didn't figure it would be too hard.
In this Oct. 6, 2011 photo, Gan Golan of Los Angeles, dressed as the "Master of Degrees," holds a ball and chain representing his college loan debt du

Student loans are a great deal - for the government

Congress returns next week, and one of the first things on the agenda will be figuring out how to pay for the cost of keeping interest rates low on federally guaranteed student loans.

Wieffering: Start-up bill results in less-informed investors

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act is that rarest of Washington objects: a bill signed by President Obama, heartily endorsed by both Democrats and Republicans and championed by the likes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
A United Parcel Service driver delivers packages from

Wieffering: Tax-free sales give unfair edge to online sellers

Democrats and Republicans rarely agree on anything these days, especially when the conversation swings to taxes and the economy.
Best Buy headquarters in Richfield.

Wieffering: Best Buy needs an outsider as its next CEO

Brian Dunn is out as chief executive of Best Buy, but not for the reasons many thought would prove his ultimate undoing: Losing the loyalty of customers and the confidence of investors.
Simon Kallal, co-owner of 2nd Swing Golf with some of the store's inventory in the basement of the Hennepin Ave. store in Minneapolis.

Wieffering: With second chance, 2nd Swing finds the green

Simon Kallal's first golf venture, 2nd Swing, found water in 2006, when it was liquidated in bankruptcy.

Wieffering: Regional air carriers not immune to tough times

The future of the airline industry is beginning to look a lot like its recent past.
Wieffering: Tickets should be yours to use, or resell

Wieffering: Tickets should be yours to use, or resell

Beware monopolists claiming they have the best interests of consumers in mind.
FILE -- Nov. 2010: In this photograph taken by AP Images for Best Buy, Brian Dunn greets shoppers waiting for the Eden Prairie Best Buy to open for Bl

Wieffering: The Street is losing faith in Best Buy's CEO Dunn

An underperforming professional sports team knows it's time to hire a new coach when the current one "loses the locker room."

Wieffering: Health care overhaul aims to heal a creaky system

Americans may think that health care is a universal right, but for most people in the United States, it's a benefit that can be extended, altered or revoked on a moment's notice.

Wieffering: Rising gas prices not as evil as you might think

Americans believe deeply in the virtues of free markets. Except when they behave in ways we don't like.

Wieffering: Proceed with caution on 'reforms' of device OKs

The medical device industry is right. The approval process for new devices is badly broken.

School reform free-for-all has the cash flying

Education reform has all the hallmarks of a parent-led, grass-roots movement to fix failing public schools.
Don't believe what you see

Don't believe what you see

I'm taller than I look on camera

Making the case for lower corporate taxes

Corporate tax cut fever is in the air.

Wieffering: HEI in the pink but hardly tickled

HEI Inc. posted its first profit in three years Monday, and investors seem increasingly confident that CEO Mark Thomas is delivering on his turnaround plan for the Victoria-based technology firm. Since late December, HEI's share price has surged almost 30 percent.
Remembering Paul Klodt

Remembering Paul Klodt

Developer worked quietly, got things done.

Wieffering: For Lusso, luxury vision ends up in bankruptcy

The Lusso Collection, an Eden Prairie-based club that offered unlimited access to dozens of multimillion-dollar getaway homes around the world, promised members a "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous"-like experience.

Wieffering: Approval in St. Paul always seems to be conditional

St. Paul residents may wonder why their property taxes are going up in 2012 even as the amount of services and amenities the city can afford to provide goes down.

Property tax system needs reform, not quick 'fixes'

A decade ago, Minnesota legislators and business interests struck a grand bargain around property taxes.

Wieffering: Good pay, job security in two years instead of four

E.J. Daigle has a plea for America's moms and dads.

Future of manufacturing jobs

You'll need more than a high school diploma to get them.

Jobs go wanting

Manufacturing companies are struggling to find enough people who can program and run the high-tech machines that cut metal and plastic components. But these precision manufacturing jobs are also among the highest-paying. Though the total number of jobs is expected to shrink in the next decade, demand for these skills is expected to remain strong.

Tech IPO has Minnesota connections

Cambridge, MA-based Brightcove scheduled to go public this week
3M chairman, president and CEO George Buckley

Wieffering: Buckley helped 3M rediscover its mojo

Chief executives don't usually get a victory lap, and some of them don't deserve one.

Wieffering: Fighting death's final indignity: The price tag

Death may not be proud, but it sure can be expensive.
Models pose by Mercedes Benz SLS AMG Roadster on display during the 2012 Taipei International Auto Show at the Taipei World Trade Center in Taipei, Ta

Basic instinct behind many consumer choices

It's the oldest trick in advertising's toolbox.


Face it, Mark Zuckerberg has built a heck of a business.

Private Equity: The Rosy-Eyed View

Rushing to the defense of an industry that's got an image problem.

Wieffering: Clear choices are essential to surviving rapid change

One measure of a company is how it faces up to the kind of disruptive change that, left unchecked, could lead to its ruin.
The proposed Target Center renovation would include opening the building up to outside streets. This view is from N. 6th Street and 1st Avenue. N. Ren

Go long to measure the true cost of a stadium

Minneapolis city officials thought they were saving downtown in 1995 when they agreed to buy Target Center for $72 million.

Wieffering: Buffets Inc.: Revisiting a deal gone wrong

When Old Country Buffet tumbled into bankruptcy last week for the second time in four years, top executives of Buffets Inc. were quick to blame the restaurant chain's woes on weak spending by consumers.

Manufacturer sounds off on skills gap, wages

State manufacturers "in fight of their lives" for skilled workers
American Airlines jets

Wieffering: Let's hope talk of American, Delta merger goes nowhere

Airlines raised ticket prices nine times in 2011, and they seem determined to maintain or exceed that pace in 2012. Earlier this week the nation's biggest carrier, Delta Air Lines, pushed through its second fare increase of the new year.

The Fed: Optimistic right until the end

2006 transcripts reveal almost surrealistic assessment of housing market

Wieffering: This business may look grim, but it plans to reap big profits

GWG Holdings makes money when its customers die, and as the prospectus for its $250 million debt sale makes clear, sooner is better than later.

Jobs go away, pay stays flat

Manufacturing wages rising faster outside U.S.

Eric Wieffering: Devil is often in details of executive paychecks

Listen closely and you can already begin to hear it stirring: The collective sound of jaws hitting the floor as companies reveal the take-home pay of their top executives.

Best Buy Buyout?

Bloomberg floats possibility of private-equity takeout of electronics firm

Wieffering: For some, recovery may never come

Most conversations about the beleaguered housing sector focus quickly on one topic, prices. As in, "Will they ever stop falling?"

Manufacturing report comes with fat asterisk

Outlook for nation's factories improves, but not the high-paying jobs they once provided
Hundreds of job seekers waited in line to search for job opportunities at the Minneapolis Career Fair in Bloomington, Monday, September 12, 2011

Look anew at Minnesota's job creation challenge

Minnesota begins 2012 in much the same shape it began 2011: Slowly repairing the ravages of the Great Recession, brandishing an unemployment rate that suggests the state is doing better than the nation as a whole.

Sears, Kmart and the Walking Dead

Retailers' slide has been years in the making
Cabelas super storte in Owatonna Mn -- cabe2.17868 - exterior of Cabela�s - during the installation an 8 ton bronze sculpture of two whitetail bucks

Vibrant economies aren't found only in cities

Count Mankato, Owatonna and Willmar among the state's economic hot spots, according to ia just-released analysis of Minnesota's outstate economy.

Debtors' prison revisited

National Public Radio series brings national dimension to story first reported in Strib
A Supervalu truck in the Supervalu distribution center in Hopkins.

Supervalu has a tough time living up to its name

Every investor's portfolio has one: an established, even profitable company stuck in a state of permanent turnaround.
A Ford assembly line worker reached for a pneumatic wrench to install a part on the hood of a pickup truck.

Wieffering: Fate of Ford plant was settled long time ago

The closing of Ford's Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul marks the end of an era in Minnesota's economic history.
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

Wieffering: At MSP, some cracks in the fortress hub wall

Clearly, Dan Boivin does not understand the role of a lap dog.

Housing: it was all a dream!

Or nightmare that came true
Dr. Scott Augustine, left, CEO Augustine Biomedical+Design and Josh Waldman, right, CEO PureZone Technologies, are launching PureZone, a pillowcase th

This medical device rivalry is getting a bit heated

Enron's headquarters in Houston. Enron went under 10 years ago Friday.

Wieffering: Enron's fall is a lesson we still can't seem to learn

Enron's bankruptcy 10 years ago Friday taught investors to trust no one. Not senior executives, not the analysts, not the accountants, and definitely not the regulators or Wall Street bankers.
Larry Barenbaum

Wieffering: Retailer tries to reconnect with its best customer

Mary, Larry wants you back.
MNP102--A section of the Conservatory buckles after construction crews imploded the building early Sunday morning in the 800 block of Nicollet Ave. in

Downtown Minneapolis dropped off shoppers' list

Not much has changed about the Holidazzle parade since it first snaked its way down the Nicollet Mall in 1992.

Another airline bankruptcy ... finally

American Airlines' parent company bows to competitive reality

Wieffering: Now isn't the time to kill tax cut, benefits for jobless

Here's a topic to toss around the dinner table this Thanksgiving, even though it wades into the dangerous territory of economics and public policy.
In this Oct. 4, 2011 photo, Blake Andrews with Verizon, left, visits with prospective employees during a job fair, in San Antonio. The United States a

Four years after roof fell in, a few good signs

If Upper Deck made trading cards for countries, here's what the vital statistics for the U.S. economy would have looked like four years ago this month, on the eve of what we now call the Great Recession.

Shining a brighter light on student loans

Consumer bureau seeks wide-ranging info from private lenders
"Doors open at 12 a.m. Friday ." There's a lot of that going around these days.

Wieffering: Early store openings reflect new retail reality

Black Friday is no longer the busiest day of the holiday shopping season, but its event-like trappings -- 3 a.m. openings, time-limited sales available only in stores -- are vitally important in bringing people to the store and creating momentum for the rest of the season.

Average debt of graduates

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2011 file photo, Gan Golan, of Los Angeles, dressed as the "Master of Degree," holds a ball and chain representing his college

Paying for college, mortgaging your future

During the housing boom, qualifying for a loan was as easy as drawing a breath.
Anti-austerity protesters scuffle with riot police during a student parade in Athens, on Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. The student march, in commemoration of

Those troubles across the pond floating our way

From afar, the economic crisis in Europe seems like a puzzling and sometimes amusing sideshow.

More on jobs gap

Jobs do go unfilled, but for a variety of reasons
Job seekers attend the Minneapolis Career Fair held Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011, in Bloomington, Minn. Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last

Don't blame the unemployed for the jobs crisis

A new culprit has emerged as a major source of the nation's long-term unemployment crisis: the jobless themselves.
The employment recession in graph form

The employment recession in graph form

We're adding jobs, but not nearly fast enough to help those looking for work.

Wieffering: Returns aren't in on Best Buy's VC venture

Shareholders of Polaris and Best Buy reacted predictably last week to news that the companies had each made a bet on the future of electric motorcycles.

How many dreams fall prey to health care costs?

Alex Danovitch's business has nine employees, Andy Johnson's has 90. One firm is four years old, the other 11. One is in south Minneapolis, the other in St. Cloud.

Job killing health care costs

More on how health insurance costs may discourage innovation

More on health care costs

Soaring cost of health care penalizes or discourages entrepreneurs

Pricey benefits

Most Americans get their health insurance through an employer, and the average annual premium for family coverage has more than doubled in the past decade.

Less than meets the eye in Dayton's business loans

Gov. Mark Dayton's decision to deposit another $100 million in Minnesota's community banks is a sincere but ultimately symbolic gesture that will do little to spur new small business lending in the state.

Defining the 99% - and the 1%

New report shows big income growth for top earners.

Wieffering: The best plan to boost jobs: Invest in workers

It seemed fitting that the co-author of a depressing bestseller about America's economic decline would deliver the keynote speech at Gov. Mark Dayton's daylong conference about Minnesota's broken down jobs engine.

Benefits of trade outweigh cost - eventually

Trade makes nations wealthier.