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Gita Sitaramiah

Consumer reporter | Consumer reporter

Gita Sitaramiah is the Star Tribune consumer reporter.

Recent content from Gita Sitaramiah
Nevin Kennedy looked at Barbie dolls on Nov. 21 at Target in Edina with his daughter Luna, 4. Son Bart, 6 months, isn’t pictured.

A fashion doll from 1959 gets a boost from a 2023 blockbuster: Hi, Barbie!

Mattel is capitalizing on the 64-year-old doll via this year's hit movie, toy sales, merchandising and pop-up restaurants.
Sun Country jets on the tarmac at Minneapolis St Paul International Airport at the airline’s maintenance facility.

Sun Country has charged an online booking fee since 2022; passengers just didn't know it

Budget airlines routinely charge such fees to avoid taxes and thus boost profit.
Shoppers bundled against the morning cold waited to enter the Mall of America on Black Friday.

Black Friday shoppers hit Twin Cities malls hunting for deep discounts

Retailers expected consumers to be choosier with their dollars to officially start the holiday shopping season.
Man dies in Minneapolis shooting early Thanksgiving

Man dies in Minneapolis shooting early Thanksgiving

Minneapolis police are investigating and say they believe the victim knew the shooter.
A large crowd of Black Friday shoppers waited outside Mall of America’s north entrance for the doors to open at 7 a.m. Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 in Bloo

When you can shop on Thanksgiving, Black Friday

From grocery stores to malls, there are few options open on Turkey Day but plenty of extended hours Black Friday.
It’s the time of year when many are thinking about presents to exchange for holidays, hosting gifts for parties and end-of-year festivities at work.

The holiday gift puzzle: Who should get a gift, and what should it be?

From family to friend to coworkers, here's how to cope with the sometimes-stressful present-giving tradition.
New Downtown Council President Adam Duininck on Friday.

New leader of Minneapolis Downtown Council says city is ripe for a comeback

The organization, which canceled Holidazzle this year after insufficient funding, aims to attract more workers and visitors downtown.
Passengers walk in Concourse D in Terminal 1, which is currently under renovation, at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023. ] LEILA

Forget pre-pandemic levels: Experts predict record travel for Thanksgiving, holidays

There will likely be more air travel and road trips for Turkey Day this year than ever before thanks to the work-from-anywhere trend.
The sun set in front of the bow of a canoe in The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in 2021.

What are Minnesota's most popular tourist attractions?

State tourism spending has rebounded since the pandemic, but growth has lagged behind the national trend.
Sun Country’s third-quarter results showed net income decreased nearly 30% to $7.6 million from  $10.7 million at the same time last year.

Sun Country Airlines unfazed by demand drama as post-pandemic travel normalizes

The Minneapolis-based carrier expects consistent passengers throughout the winter as Minnesotans seek to escape snow and cold.
The University of Minnesota Hubbard School of Journalism honored Kathy Tunheim — pictured above at her company’s Bloomington headquarters on Frida

How Kathy Tunheim built a pillar of the Twin Cities' PR industry

The University of Minnesota Hubbard School of Journalism honored the communications professional with the first Aluminary Award in recognition of her impact.
Jenny Barrett, a field director for the Kate Mortenson for City Council campaign, door-knocks in Minneapolis.

3 Minnesotans share how student loans have affected their lives

The average student loan debt in Minnesota is $34,000 as federal student loan payments resumed last month after a 3½-year pause.
Matt Sierra, 5, pets Lenny, a service dog with Pawsitive Perspectives Assistance Dogs (PawPADs) at PawPAD’s booth at Cottage Grove’s Fall Fun Days

Americans are spending $700M on Halloween costumes. For our pets.

As Halloween becomes increasingly popular, consumers are including their cats and dogs in the fun.
Hennepin Avenue and N. 7th Street in downtown Minneapolis.

Downtown Council names new leader as Minneapolis continues pandemic rebound

Adam Duininck, a former Metropolitan Council chair, will replace retiring Steve Cramer.
Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian: “I have read hundreds of your emails, and what’s been most clear to me is how much you love Delta and the disappoi

Delta scales back changes to SkyMiles rewards program

Chief Executive Ed Bastian offered several adjustments to mid-September's changes that had made gaining status more difficult, expensive and exclusive.
Sun Country plans to add new direct routes to Montreal and Toronto.

Sun Country Airlines to add Montreal, Toronto nonstops from MSP

Next year, the growing Minneapolis leisure carrier will operate 120 routes serving 104 airports.
Dollar General and Family Dollar shared the same marquee sign space in this Pearl, Miss., strip mall on Sept. 6.

From dollar stores to DoorDash, 5 creative ways Minnesotans cut their grocery bill

The cost of food rose 11.4% last year, the biggest annual jump in nearly 50 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported.
The Credit Card Competition Act of 2023 aims to lower fees businesses or customers pay to swipe credit cards.

Small businesses, shoppers grapple with conundrum of credit card swipe fees

The Credit Card Competition Act of 2023 aims to enhance credit card competition and choice in order to reduce fees.
Twins fans swept in the postseason excitement have brought some liveliness and an economic jolt to downtown Minneapolis.

Twins drive, sports-packed weekend offer much-needed jolt for downtown Mpls.

Fans crowded downtown bars and restaurants on Saturday to watch the first Twins playoff game against the Astros. Sunday sees the second game of that series on TV, plus a Vikings game downtown.
Shoppers at Mall of America ahead of the 2011 holiday season.

We want to know: How do you plan to shop for the holidays this year?

Share your thoughts on holiday shopping this season with the Star Tribune.
Delta’s first-ever service to the Turks and Caicos begins in January.

Delta Air Lines to start Turks and Caicos seasonal service from Minneapolis-St. Paul

Nonstop flights from MSP start in January.
Retired MInneapolis police Sgt. Peter Jackson died unexpectedly July 29.

Retired Minneapolis police Sgt. Peter Jackson is remembered as courageous investigator with a zest for life

A celebration of life is planned Oct. 17 at the Golden Valley Country Club.
Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said the airline “probably went too far” with changes to the SkyMiles rewards program announced earlier this month.

Delta CEO on rewards changes: 'We probably went too far'

Changes to the airline's SkyMiles program drew outrage from loyal airline customers.
MSP amenities include local restaurants like Cocina del Barrio in Terminal 2 of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

MSP loses top spot in ranking of North American airports

Overall customer satisfaction with North American airports increased, despite delays, cancelations and record passenger volume crowding terminals.
Fans wait for doors to open on June 23, 2023, for the first of two Taylor Swift concerts outside U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The events caused s

Downtown Minneapolis events push summer hotel bookings near autumn 2019 levels

Taylor Swift concerts and the Twin Cities Pride festival were among the events that drew visitors downtown as hotel revenue climbed in the summer.
Delta gate in Terminal 1 of Minneapolis - St. Paul International Airport.

Why are MSP flights among the most expensive in the country?

Per a study, domestic airfare from the airport came in third highest, averaging $456.
Cub Food patrons shop in the fresh food section of the supermarket in Minneapolis on Aug. 10.

How do you save money on groceries? Share your tips.

As food prices shot up, many households made changes to cope. The Star Tribune would like to learn your tips for where and how to…
Delta Air Lines is making major changes to its SkyMiles program.

Delta changes SkyMiles program: Want status? Spend more.

Delta Air Lines is changing how travelers earn status, starting in January for travel in 2025 and beyond.
Timothy Liston, U.S. Consul General in Munich, smiles with a Lufthansa crew in traditional Bavarian costume prior to a flight bound for Miami at Munic

Lufthansa to launch service at MSP with nonstop to Frankfurt

The German-based Lufthansa will be Minneapolis-St. Paul's first new trans-Atlantic carrier in more than four years, with new service to Europe.
Big Beach on the Hawaiian island of Maui, in late August 2023.

Delta drops its planned nonstop flights from Minneapolis to Maui

Tourism officials still want people to return; customers with rebooked flights should be eligible for refunds.
Union employees huddle and cheer outside the Cub in Maple Grove on Wednesday, April 5, 2023.

Twin Cities retail workers use unions to demand better treatment

The workforce shortage and a desire for pandemic recompense are motivating many retail workers and unions to become more active.
Midwest Mountaineering owner Rod Johnson saw sales decline for the past seven years as shopping styles changed, save for the height of the pandemic, w

After more than 50 years, iconic Mpls. outdoor retailer Midwest Mountaineering will close

Sales declines in recent years pushed owner Rod Johnson to shut the doors to his Minneapolis store this fall.
Delta Air Lines wants to replace 10% of the fuel it uses at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by 2027.

Delta, Xcel push for sustainable aviation fuel hub in Minnesota

A manufacturer is needed to make those dreams a reality.
Coborn’s Marketplace in Albertville was steady with customers on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021.

New Coborn's grocery leader brings Target, General Mills experience to St. Cloud chain

David Best started at Coborn's Inc. on Monday and will become president and chief operating officer at year-end.
Rebecca Bullers, a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, loaded her car with groceries outside of Cub in Minneapolis this month.

Cub's dominance wanes as Walmart's prices lure grocery shoppers

Grocers enjoyed a pandemic boom, but inflation has since driven shoppers from across the economic spectrum to Walmart.
Meet Minneapolis officials Sue Murray, left, and Deb Taylor spoke Wednesday with Leslie Zeck of Alexandria, Va., at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

A conference for conventions: Downtown Minneapolis markets itself for future visitors

Meet Minneapolis, the city's convention and visitors association, hosted hundreds of meeting and event planners as business travel slowly recovers nationwide.
Air travelers should show up early and pack extra clothes in a carry-on in case of flight delays, cancellations and lost baggage.

Travelers dealing with canceled flights, long delays with little recourse

The pilot shortage is easing but not fast enough for airlines to cope with the summer travel frenzy and stormy weather.
The first direct Aer Lingus flight from Dublin landed at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport July 1, 2019.

Aer Lingus resumes MSP-Dublin nonstop flight after pandemic; Delta adds same route

This has fully restored international service at MSP airport to pre-pandemic levels.
Sun Country Airlines announced a profitable second quarter.

Sun Country Airlines reports most profitable spring in more than half a decade

The Minnesota-based carrier reported a profitable quarter in what's usually a weaker period for the leisure airline. But investors expected a bit more earnings per share.
Kowalski’s Markets workers at six west metro stores approved a new contract this week with hourly raises.

Kowalski's Markets union workers at six stores ratify new contract, averting strike

The union representing 600 workers in the Twin Cities announced Wednesday night that the new contract was approved.
Connor Ketterling and his partner, Alexia, are enjoying being parents to 5-month-old Beckham while also working hard at paying off their student loans

The student loan pause is lifting soon, now it's time to start managing your debt

Payments come due in October, but borrowers should start strategizing now for how this will impact their budget.
Workers at six Kowalski’s Markets stores will not strike next week after reaching a tentative union agreement.

Tentative union agreement averts strike at 6 Twin Cities area Kowalski's grocery stores

Six hundred workers will soon vote on whether to ratify the contract.
Workers plan to strike next month at six Kowalski’s stores.

Kowalski's union grocery workers in Twin Cities could strike next week

The walkout is planned for Aug. 4-6, though the union is willing to continue negotiating.
Dealerships are now loaded with a larger supply of new and used vehicles.

There are more cars on Twin Cities lots, but monthly payments hit record highs

Shoppers will find more supply but higher interest rates are pushing monthly payments to an unaffordable level for many.
Sun Country flight attendants braved the cold for an informational picket Feb. 22 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport’s Terminal 2.

Sun Country Airlines and flight attendants union seek federal mediation for contract talks

Flight attendants for the Minneapolis-based carrier overwhelmingly rejected a proposed contract earlier this year.
Delta workers rallied at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport on Friday as they attempt to unionize.

Delta Air Lines workers rally at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport in drive to unionize

Flight attendants and ramp, mechanics, tower and cargo workers gathered to galvanize support for unionizing 45,000 airline employees.
The for-sale Galaxy Drive In as pictured Wednesday in St. Louis Park.

Dreams of Galaxy Drive In pizzeria over as the St. Louis Park icon goes up for sale

Steve Schussler, best known for creating the Rainforest Café, is still working on a pizza restaurant chain with the Famous Dave's founder, Dave Anderson.
Airbnb host Jan Korbel prepared a room for rent at her south Minneapolis home.

How to rent out a room in your home to make extra cash

You can make short-term rental income without owning multiple properties if you follow these tips.
Lunds & Byerlys unionized workers ratified a new contract this past weekend.

Lunds & Byerlys union workers ratify contract that prevented a strike

The union had planned to strike at 22 of the grocer's 28 Twin Cities stores ahead of the July 4th holiday.
Scott McEachern pumped gas — going for $3.39 a gallon — at the 36 Lyn Refuel Station in Minneapolis.

Heading up north? Eased gas prices fuel Minnesotans' July 4th getaways

AAA projects a record number of July 4th holiday road trips nationally, a year after Minnesota's record high price per gallon.
Fans waited for the doors to open for the first of two Taylor Swift concerts Friday outside U.S. Bank Stadium.

Swift fans gave economic boost to rival Super Bowl, Final Four

Taylor Swift's two concerts — plus the Pride festival and a convention — helped set a record high of 9,888 occupied hotel rooms in Minneapolis on June 23.
Lunds & Byerlys and a union representing 2,500 of its workers came to a tentative agreement late Monday.

Lunds & Byerlys reaches deal with union, averting strike

The deal staves off a strike at 22 Lunds & Byerlys locations ahead of Fourth of July.
Lunds & Byerlys union employees conducted an informational picket outside of the Eden Prairie store June 9.

Looming worker strike at Lunds & Byerlys could affect July 4th shopping

A strike could run Thursday through Saturday at the local grocery store chain.
Papa Charlie's, longtime Lutsen tavern, lost in fire

Papa Charlie's, longtime Lutsen tavern, lost in fire

Lutsen Mountains, the northeastern Minnesota ski resort, said the tavern and live music venue was destroyed Saturday.
Sun Country Airlines is the top low-cost carrier in North America, per a global aviation awards survey.

Minneapolis-based Sun Country Airlines named best low-cost airline in North America

Delta Air Lines also took a top ranking in the global aviation awards event in Paris.
Nick Herrera, a bartender at the Saloon, poured a “Hello My Pronouns Are” beer by Modist Brewing Co. The Saloon bar announced it cut ties with Anh

Downtown Minneapolis gay bar drops Anheuser-Busch products ahead of Pride

The Saloon replaced Bud Light and other beers with products from local breweries.
Longtime customer Kevin Cashman offered condolences on the closing of Hubert White to head tailor Dinh Nguyen, left, as Nguyen updated Cashman on the

Downtown Minneapolis retailer Hubert White to close

Owner Bob White is retiring and will shutter the 107-year-old family business located in the IDS Center along Nicollet Mall in August.
Delta Air Lines is starting daily nonstops to Maui in December.

Delta Air Lines to launch nonstop flights from MSP to Maui this winter

The Atlanta-based carrier will run daily nonstops starting in December and running through March.
As 3M, Best Buy, Medtronic and other companies have recently laid off hundreds of workers amid cost-cutting measures, many in the Twin Cities are navi

Job loss and layoffs are scary, but take these steps to stabilize your situation

As 3M, Best Buy, Medtronic and other companies announce layoffs, here are some tips to navigate the tough time.
Anne Leland Clark, executive director of Exodus Lending, is among those pushing for a cap on payday loan interest rates in Minnesota.

Payday loans are rising, but a Minnesota proposal might soon put an APR cap on them

A proposal at the Legislature would cap annual percentage rates, which averaged 220% in the state last year, at 36%.
The Hy-Vee in Spring Lake Park, one of 32 stores in the state to offer the Healthy You program.

Hy-Vee moves beyond groceries with new diet and exercise subscription

The program is thought to be the first of its kind for a U.S. grocer, per one expert.
Carlson School senior lecturer Steve Spruth taught innovation and led students on international trips.

U Carlson School of Management instructor Steve Spruth dies at 65

An April 28 memorial service is scheduled to remember the senior lecturer who focused on innovation.
Mary Jo Katras, right, has been talking to her kids about money all their lives, including pictured daughters, Sophia, 16, and Josie, 14. Argos, the f

How parents can find the right time to cut the financial cord with their adult children

Parents rely on experts like financial planners and therapists to help navigate money matters with their grown kids.
The new Delta Sky Club features two full bars as seen during an open house press preview Tuesday, April 18, 2023, at Minneapolis-Saint Paul Internatio

Delta's luxe new MSP lounge features largest Sky Club deck in U.S.

The new 21,000-square-foot club, about twice the size of its main mall club, features a deck and soundproof workspaces.
Jill Craig, a Cub employee and union spokeswoman, last week discussed strike plans outside the Maple Grove location.

Workers at 33 Cub stores ratify new contract with higher wages after calling off strike

Employees will see the pay raises go into effect by next spring.
Jill Craig said she wants Cub to put forward a proposal that shows gratitude for employee efforts during the pandemic She and other employees shared t

Cub employees will strike Friday, Saturday at 33 Twin Cities stores

The union authorized the strike earlier this week, a first for Cub, as shoppers prepare for Easter.
Cub employees voted to strike on Tuesday.

Unionized Cub employees at 33 Twin Cities stores vote to strike

The grocer has contingency plans in place to ensure continued availability of products and services.
Roz Witkowski, 67, unpacked her groceries from Mike’s Discount Foods, where she shops to help stretch her $2,000 monthly income from Social Security

Many senior women fight to stay above Minnesota's poverty line

The share of older women in poverty in the state has climbed to more than 10%, which is a 40% increase from a decade ago.
Delta Air Lines is restarting nonstop service to Tokyo.

Traveling to Tokyo? Delta Air Lines is bringing back nonstop flights from MSP

The Atlanta-based carrier plans to have service at MSP fully restored by summer.
Sun Country is being sued following the termination of some fleet employees after a new union was formed.

Union sues Sun Country Airlines, claiming retaliation after recent firings

The union representing the Minneapolis-based airline's fleet employees formed in January.
People walk by the closed branch of Silicon Valley Bank in San Francisco on Friday.

Silicon Valley Bank's collapse: Here's what Minnesotans need to know

Minnesota-based banks' stocks slid this morning despite the federal government stepping in to quell fears. Meanwhile, experts say consumers should rest easy about their money.
Sun Country flight attendants picketed Feb. 22 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport’s Terminal 2 seeking a new union contract with higher w

Sun Country Airlines, flight attendants reach preliminary agreement for new union contract

The flight attendants have operated on a 2014 contract and 2016 wage deal as negotiations paused during the pandemic.
Sly Oliver said Sun Country fired him in January for his support of forming a fleet employees union. He marched in an informational picket last week f

Recently fired employees of Sun Country Airlines claim retaliation for union support

The Minneapolis-based airline denied the claims of wrongful termination from the three employees.
Be wary of cyber criminals posing as legitimate organizations asking for money or personal information.

Incentives and threats: How to avoid scammers 'phishing' for money, personal information

Whether through mail, email, call, text or social media, Minnesotans have lost an average of $700 per scam in recent months.
Jim Perkins and Sandy Bjornstad Perkins of Eden Prairie enjoyed wine on the beach at sunset during a vacation at Captiva Island in Fort Myers, Fla.

Minnesotans still planning winter getaways, but not always to a beach

Travelers aren't shying away from higher prices so far. But those who opt to book that last-minute getaway will likely pay more.