Staff Directory 10644811

John Ewoldt

Reporter | Consumer news
Phone: 612-673-7633
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

John Ewoldt is a business reporter for the Star Tribune. He writes about small and large retailers including supermarkets, restaurants, consumer issues and trends, and personal finance.  


A Midwesterner who grew up in Nebraska, went to college in South Dakota, and taught school in Iowa and Minnesota before becoming a consumer reporter, Ewoldt lives in Minneapolis with his partner. He likes looking for a bargain wherever he may be but is learning restraint to avoid hoarder status. He's starting to believe that maybe less is more.
Recent content from John Ewoldt
John Greer unloaded items from his car Wednesday to the Salvation Army donation center in Minneapolis' North Loop.

Just when Minnesotans are cleaning house, there's hardly anywhere to take stuff

People who are moving or spring cleaning are piling stuff up or hiring junk haulers amid a shortage of centers.
Shopper Merlin Smith, 82, of Edina, with mask, navigates the aisles of Lunds and Byerlys in Edina last week during an early morning hour devoted to ol

Seniors like dedicated shopping time, though it's 'awfully early'

Major grocery stores in Twin Cities all offer early hours for vulnerable populations.
Rosedale Mall is closing after business hours on Friday.

Rosedale, Burnsville, Har Mar malls will close by weekend

A few retailers and restaurants with exterior entrances plan to stay open.
A line of socially distant customers formed outside of Surdyk’s in Minneapolis last Friday as the store limited how many customers could be inside a

Minnesotans storm liquor stores, and an 'essential' debate emerges

"Whenever the governor speaks, people think we're going to close," said Jennifer Schoenzeit, owner of Zipps Liquors in Minneapolis.
More people were at the Caribou Coffee than in nearby shops at Ridgedale Friday.

Ridgedale Center joins lengthy list of temporarily shuttered malls

Ridgedale's owner said some tenants with exterior entrances remain open.
More people were at the Caribou Coffee in the atrium at Ridgedale Center on Friday afternoon than in the stores around it. Ridgedale and a handful oth

Some Twin Cities malls are still open, and workers aren't sure they should be

Stores and malls are in a tough spot, with few visitors and worried workers.
Kim Radman sanitized the salad and soup bars at a Cub Foods store in Minneapolis last week. The company is giving its workers extra pay because of the

Cub, Kowalski's, others give raises to hourly workers as demand soars

Workers get $2 more at Cub, other stores for "front-line" effort.
Precious Wallace an independent contractor worked from her home.

Rapid economic shutdown shocks self-employed, independent Minn. workers

Many independent contractors and freelancers are ineligible for unemployment compensation. Nearly one in five Americans work full-time in such jobs.
Tan Do finishes cleaning up Tuesday afternoon at his downtown Minneapolis restaurant, Skyway Wok, after deciding to close for most of the rest of the

Got a small business in Minnesota that closed due to COVID-19? Do this next

Try to lower expenses, renegotiate rent, seek government help.
Isanti Liquor store manager John Jacobi enjoyed a lighthearted moment with coworkers.

Some Minnesota liquor stores are beating Total Wine at its own game

Total Wine's rivals benefit from state law that requires equal access to products
Throughout the region, stores, restaurants and entertainment providers this weekend began to feel the effects of people staying at home. A sign at an

Business closings accelerate in Twin Cities, Minnesota

Downtown Minneapolis emptied out further as Target Corp., the largest employer, told its employees to work from home, if possible.
Shoppers flooded Costco caused a checkout line at the Maple Grove Costco to stretch to the back of the store Friday.

Some Minnesota stores draw huge crowds as consumers hunt for TP and soup

Big-box stores fill up with nest-building shoppers while restaurants and stores empty out downtown.
UNFI is selling the real estate at 15 Cub Foods stores to raise cash to pay down debt.

Supervalu parent sells real estate of 15 Cub Foods locations

The deal for the retail space to close by August.
TJX Cos. will open a Sierra store at Rosedale Market Place soon, according to sign posted at the shopping center in Roseville.

T.J. Maxx company will add Sierra stores in Roseville, Eden Prairie, Burnsville

Originally known as Sierra Trading Post, it sells apparel, outdoor gear and home accessories.
Target has added staffing hours at its stores to increase the amount of cleaning that is done. Show here is the checkout area at the downtown Minneapo

Target, other stores step up cleaning procedures because of coronavirus

Target is adding staff hours at each stores and suspending food samples.
Wahlburgers restaurants will replace Market Grilles in the 22 Hy-Vee stores with the sit-down dining option, officials with the grocery chain said.

Hy-Vee replacing all 22 Market Grille restaurants with Wahlburgers

The move is to satisfy customers' needs for quicker service.
Hy-Vee is closing its online fulfillment center in Eagan and in three other Midwest markets. File photo of a Hy-Vee store in Cottage Grove just before

Hy-Vee closing all fulfillment centers, more than 300 jobs at risk in Eagan

Grocer is shutting down its fulfillment facility in Eagan with 3 others, delays store opening.
The Galaxy Drive In restaurant in St. Louis Park will reopen in April after five years of being closed. Owner Steve Schussler found a team of restaura

Galaxy Drive In restaurant in St. Louis Park will reopen after 5 years

The drive-up restaurant will open mid-April, after owner found new team to operate it.
The sign is already gone from the World Market store in Roseville, which closed last month after its lease ran out.

Roseville Cost Plus World Market closes, again

Two Twin Cities locations that closed previously will remain open.
Twin Cities residents flocked stores over the weekend to stock up on hand sanitizer, cold medicine, toilet paper and other supplies amid concerns abou

Twin Cities stores are seeing a run on 'pandemic pantries' supplies

Hand sanitizer, paper goods and medical masks are in short supply in stores around the metro and the nation.
Scott Davis, the visual lead for the opening of the new West Elm in the North Loop, arranged an outdoor furniture and decor display.

West Elm home furnishings store in North Loop opens Thursday

West Elm furniture store is scaled to fit the needs of downtown Minneapolis residents.
Contrary to reports, Costco is not restricting nonmembers from certain of its services, including its food court.

Costco nonmembers can still use food courts, contrary to recent reports

Membership is also not required to buy prescriptions or alcohol at Costco or Sam's Clubs.
ApplianceSmart is closing the last of its Twin Cities stores. The firm sold new, returned and dented kitchen appliances at a discount.

ApplianceSmart closing last Twin Cities stores

The retailer, which started here but is now a unit of a Las Vegas firm, declared bankruptcy late last year.
J.W. Hulme, a leather maker based in St. Paul, will hold one of its biannual sample sales on Saturday.

J.W. Hulme will hold first leather goods sample sale with new owner

The St. Paul leather goods firm has undergone a lot of change but the winter event remains.
Arctic Denim jeans, made in Minneapolis by designer Salvia Lani, use a blue stitching to distinguish their cold-weather traits.

Made-in-Minnesota jeans designed to keep you warm in a 60-below windchill

During a subzero cold spell last winter, clothing designer Salvia Lani went to work creating a cold-weather jean without the heft of flannel.
Huxley Optical co-owner Ryan Polehonka helped Gordon Johnson of Brooklyn Center as he shopped for sunglasses.

Eyeglass shops cut prices, work to keep them low

For Huxley Optical co-founder Ryan Polehonka, the mission is cool glasses and fair pricing.
Parsons Xtreme Golf’s newly opened 7,000-square-foot location features clubs, apparel, fitting bays, a putting green and a players’ lounge.

A $650 golf club? Elite golf store PXG opens in Southdale

High-end golf retailer PXG opens location at Southdale Center in Edina.
Hirshfield's bought Aero Drapery, combining two metro-area home furnishing retailers.

Hirshfield's buys Aero Drapery & Blind, and all stores will stay open

The companies will continue to operate separately, with all three Aero locations staying open.
The new Kowalski's at Rosedale will be part of a new structure that will occupy the former space of Herberger's. That structure, shown in an architect

Kowalski's Markets expanding to Rosedale, Southdale

In another sign that Twin Cities malls are finding creative ways to replace traditional tenants, both Rosedale and Southdale will add Kowalski's Markets in their…
Pier 1 Imports is closing eight of its 12 stores in the Twin Cities, part of a nationwide plan to close about half its 942 stores.

Pier 1 is closing 8 of its 12 Twin Cities stores

Stores in Burnsville, Maple Grove, Minnetonka and Woodbury will remain open.
The Hy-Vee supermarket on Pilot Knob Road in Lakeville.

Hy-Vee will no longer be open 24 hours a day starting Monday

Many supermarkets, pharmacies and discount stores are closing earlier.
Famous Dave’s new chicken sandwich will be priced at $5 to compete with offerings from other fast-food chains. It’s deep-fried chicken, a brioche

Famous Dave's takes on Popeyes, Chick-fil-A in chicken-sandwich wars

"We've always had chicken, but not enough people know about it," founder Dave Anderson said.
Mike Wright, shown in a 1990 photo, led Supervalu through a period of rapid growth in the 1980s and 1990s.

Michael Wright, a Gophers star who led Supervalu for 20 years, dies at 81

Former U football star known as tough, savvy and "a friend to everyone."
F1RST Wrestling, a local promoter that has staged events at First Avenue and other area venues, will put on family-friendly night of wrestling at Rose

Pro wrestling at the mall? Body slams coming to Rosedale in March

Pro wrestling promoter will stage a family-friendly show at Rosedale.
The Galleria in Edina.

Galleria in Edina is for sale, and a deal could mean big changes

Management firm Hines is pulling out just as the mall faces loss of Gabberts.
Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, shown in a file photo, will hold its most-anticipated sale of the year this weekend.

Habitat for Humanity ReStores discounts almost everything 50% Saturday

Habitat for Humanity ReStores will host its most-anticipated sale of the year this weekend, just as shoppers are putting their holiday bills behind them and…
An old Dayton’s logo has found new life in Target's new All in Motion line.

Stamped on Target's new athleticwear: an homage to its parent, Dayton's

As they planned the All in Motion line, Target designers envisioned a logo representing "collective, inclusive movement." They found it in one developed for its predecessor 52 years ago.
Regis Corp.'s ongoing structural shift, shedding corporate-owned salons to franchisees, is leading it to cut about 290 corporate jobs.

Regis cuts 290 jobs as its shifts more hair salons to franchisees

Company is shifting away from ownership of salons.
Rosedale Center and Jones Lang LaSalle executives say the expansion planned for the old Herberger's site is also likely to stretch across a large port

Rosedale offers more details on the largest expansion in its history

The "lifestyle center" project will cost about $200 million, mall executives now say.
Essence One, a Minneapolis maker of personal care products, will use the Oscars as a marketing platform. It will add some of its products to the gift

Small Minnesota-based company nabs space in Academy Awards swag bags

Beauty line based in Minneapolis to soon be carried in select Crate & Barrel stores.
A discount sign at the entrance of its Rosedale location is all that marks a plan by J.Crew to close the store.

J.Crew announces another Twin Cities store closure

Retail analysts have said for years that the U.S. is "overretailed," causing a contraction in retailers and malls.
MyPillow's Premium pillow landed on the top half of Consumer Reports' list of best pillows.

Consumer Reports rates pillows for first time; MyPillow did OK

Minnesota brands among those tested by venerable magazine.
Goodnight Moon in Edina

She judged NYC's best holiday store windows, and casts an eye on the Twin Cities

Consultant Judy Bell has an eye for what catches the eye.
Influencers Eva Igo, Andrea Peña and Cindi Yang posed for a selfie during a photo shoot for the Rosedale holiday campaign.

At a tough time for most malls, Rosedale Center is riding high

The mall's marketing outreach has attracted national attention and, more importantly, the coveted under-40 set of shoppers.
File photo of trailers lined up at the loading docks at the UNFI distribution center in Hopkins. Workers went on strike at the site Tuesday.

Worker walkout could disrupt Twin Cities grocery supplies

The move is in sympathy with workers in Indiana.

J. Crew's Madewell will open new concept store in North Loop next year

While J. Crew limps along with declining sales, Madewell has become the company's shining star. So much a star that privately held J. Crew filed…
Engelbert

Gwen Engelbert, retailer who fulfilled dream of co-owning shop with her wife, dies at age 80

Engelbert and Katie Greene opened Key North boutique in Minneapolis in 2006.
Manhattan Toy CEO Nora O'Leary with some of the company's toys.

Minneapolis toymaker keeps on truckin' but without Groovy Girls

Manhattan Toy retires doll, but hopes to duplicate its popularity.
Life Time is proposing to build an apartment tower at the former Herberger’s department store at Southdale Center.

Life Time CEO says luxurious new club at Southdale is just the beginning

Company plans expansion into apartments, mall development and hotels.
UNFI is selling 13 of the Shoppers Food & Pharmacy stores it acquired in its purchase of Supervalu Inc. last year. It will close four others and has 2

Supervalu parent UNFI sells 13 Shoppers Food stores; Cub is still on the block

The latest deal leaves UNFI with 26 Shoppers stores and 79 Cub stores it wants to sell.
Burlap & Brass is a recent edition to the 50th & France shopping area in Edina.

With construction nearly over, Edina's 50th & France ready to embrace Small Business Saturday

Construction was a factor in the loss of some retailers, but new tenants are on the way.
A Dior boutique is new inside the Nordstrom store at the Mall of America, which completed a top-to-bottom remodeling just in time for the holiday shop

Mall of America Nordstrom adds rare luxury boutiques

A top-to-bottom remodeling took most of a year at one of the megamall's original anchors.
Maureen Erickson, a Lululemon executive, shows off some of the colors available as modeled on full-body mannequins. Lululemon opens a new store at the

Shop and sweat? Lululemon offers yoga classes as well as clothes in new MOA store

It's only the second large, experiential store for Lululemon.
Suitsupply opened its first Minnesota location at the Galleria in Edina. The Dutch-based retailer is battling the casualwear trend.

Warby Parker, Suitsupply and other new retailers open in Galleria's ever-changing mix

For every retailer leaving a hole in the Edina mall this year, another has jumped in to fill the space.
On Saturday Legacy Toy stores will offer special discounts, activities including letters to Santa, demos of Legacy’s Top 10 toys for kids to try, an

Want help finding cool toys? Try Neighborhood Toy Store Day Saturday

Independent toy stores specialize in toys that foster play and socialization.
Duluth Trading Co.’s new store at the Mall of America features images of “Buck,” its potbellied man, in its underwear. The fast-expanding retail

Duluth Trading gets cheeky with its new underwear store at the Mall of America

The store is a prototype that the rapidly expanding apparel maker may take to other malls and locations.
Floor to ceiling: Becky Clifford became a real estate agent and downsizing specialist after helping her parents downsize.

Even downsizing pros who help seniors move to smaller quarters find charities getting pickier

Downsizing a lifetime of accumulated possessions has become a sizable problem for families across the nation.
State agencies and many financial service firms pitch in to present information and run classes at Twin Cities Financial Planning Day. The annual even

Urban Growler founders, at weekend financial planning event, will show how scrimping paid off

The brewery is among firms and financial planners at event offering help on debt, investing and saving.
Famous Dave’s CEO Jeff Crivello, left, and founder Dave Anderson at the test kitchen in their company’s headquarters in Minnetonka.

BBQ and doughnuts: Famous Dave and the CEO who turned things around

When Dave Anderson started Famous Dave’s in Hayward, Wis., 25 years ago, his plan was to smoke up a couple cases of ribs and then…
Hy-Vee’s newest store, in Maple Grove, will open Tuesday.

Hy-Vee opens its 12th Twin Cities store in Maple Grove on Tuesday

Expansion has slowed, but CEO says commitment to this area will continue.
Smaaash at the Mall of America has closed.

Mall of America loses major tenant Smaaash go-karts

The company never expanded in the U.S. as imagined after the MOA location opened.
Shown is the Oakdale Cub Foods.

Sale of Cub stores expected early next year, new owner says

United Natural Foods Inc. did not name a buyer, just the timeline of the expected sale.
Alan Noot. (Courtesy Candace Noot)

Genealogy detective found millions of dollars for lost heirs

Alan Noot lived life challenging the phrase “no known heirs.” As a forensic genealogist for nearly 40 years who scoured cemeteries, census film and vital…
Store employees say they have been told the Gander Outdoors in Eden Prairie is closing.

Gander Outdoors closing stores in Eden Prairie, Bemidji

Employees said store would join Bemidji location in shutting down as owners shift toward RVs.
An Impossible veggie burger at Union Depot Bar and Grill in St. Paul. Alt meats appeal to “flexitarians,” who seek more fruits and veggies, but al

Growth of faux meat in Twin Cities coming from – gasp! – meat eaters

Plant-based alternatives are popping up in more Twin Cities restaurants and groceries.
Famous Dave's will open a new restaurant in Uptown in the location at 800 W. Lake St. that's now home to New Bohemia.

Slimmer Famous Dave's BBQ will reopen in Uptown in New Bohemia space

The smaller prototype is the second in the country for Famous Dave's.
Honeycrisp apples begin the process of being cleaned, sorted and boxed for shipment to high-end retailers at the Pepin Heights facility in Lake City,

Why are Honeycrisp apples still so expensive?

One of the University of Minnesota's most profitable inventions continues to be a best-seller despite its top-priced status.
Canada Goose, the upscale outerwear company, is opening its first store in Minnesota at the Mall of America. This is the view from the cold room that

Canada Goose to open a Mall of America store, with a room set at -13F

Five other retailers will open soon at the mall, including Legacy Toys and a Duluth Trading Co.
At center, from left, Hell’s Kitchen co-owners Steve Meyer and Cynthia Gerdes posed with restaurant staffers on Wednesday along with Meyer’s wife,

Hell's Kitchen owners sell their restaurant to employees

Co-owner Cynthia Gerdes blazes a creative exit that carries some risk.
Sunglasses on display at Warby Parker inside Askov Finlayson.

Warby Parker eyewear, J.W. Hulme, Nic + Zoe all joining Edina's Galleria this fall

Warby Parker among three opening this fall.
Buffalo Wild Wings will allow sports betting in some of its restaurants this fall, relying on a partnership with MGM Resorts International.

Buffalo Wild Wings adds sports gambling in partnership with MGM Resorts

The restaurant chain will test sports betting in New Jersey in coming weeks.
West Elm will open a store in the first floor of this development at 128 N. 2nd St. in the Minneapolis' North Loop neighborhood.

West Elm furniture will open in North Loop next year

Furnishing retailer's plan to open hotels appears to be up in the air.
Hy-Vee's Fast & Fresh concept, shown here in an Iowa location, adds fresh products with grab-and-go meals and other convenience items.

Hy-Vee thinks smaller, offers no update on five proposed large format stores

Its Fast & Fresh store in Lakeville is its first small-format store, but it has no updates on big stores.
Shoppers at the Good Things tent, a Twin Cities retailer making its first appearance at the Minnesota State Fair this year.

Minnesota State Fair is a magnet that some small retailers use the entire year

A booth can bring business to brick-and-mortar stores long after event has run its course.
The Aldi in Uptown has a feature that’s rare for the chain: shopping baskets. Executives believe the store will attract more customers who come on f

Shopping baskets at no-frills Aldi? Only at new Uptown store — so far

Many will walk, bike or bus to shop and will not need a cart, company official says.