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
The Studio, a new expansion by the Traditions furniture store in St. Louis Park. It includes lower-priced and consigned items as furniture retailers a

Furniture retailers coax shoppers back with new strategies, sales

Even sale-averse Room & Board has added unprecedented free delivery and 0% financing.
Silverr Adams shopped for the first time at the new temporary tent-like Cub Foods in the parking lot of the Lake Street store in Minneapolis on Wednes

Cub Foods opens store in tent at E. Lake Street location badly damaged in riots

A scaled-down version of the closed Broadway store in Minneapolis will also open soon.
Shoppers flooded Costco in Maple Grove March 13. Costco became the first national retailer to stop selling its half-sheet cake that is so popular for

Costco eliminates coveted sheet cakes, citing pandemic

First, the masks, now sheet cakes.Costco was one of the nation's first retailers to mandate wearing face masks. Now word has surfaced that its half-sheet…
Store manager Matt McCracken helped customer Kelsey Johnson of Edina lay out her patio as they talked through the options for outdoor furniture.

E-commerce spurs winning year for St. Louis Park-based patio retailer, rare in COVID-19 era

Amid pandemic, more retailers find low-cost platform an asset.
Cub still maintains the No. 1 market share in the Twin Cities. Its stores on Lake Street and Broadway Avenue were damaged during recent unrest.

Cub rebuilding damaged stores on Lake, Broadway; being spun off into stand-alone unit

Temporary buildings will go up at damaged sites to sell fresh food, supplies and pharmacy goods.
Gabberts is holding a closing sale at the Galleria, where it was an anchor tenant when the shopping center opened in the early 1970s.

Gabberts bids goodbye to the Galleria, but luxury mall is holding its own

It is moving, but now 85% of the mall's stores have reopened after being shut down in March.
Workers are seen outside Amazon.com Inc.’s giant fulfillment center Tuesday in Shakopee, where at least 88 of its approximately 1,000 workers testin

Amazon's Shakopee warehouse has 88 coronavirus cases

Minnesota officials are monitoring large warehouses, where coronavirus is spreading
Other changes during the coronavirus pandemic at the co-op include requiring masks for workers and shoppers alike.

Why Twin Cities food co-ops haven't fared as well as supermarkets in pandemic

A combination of factors has led to sales declines.
Hy-Vee has inked a deal with DSW to sell shoes in the supermarkets.

Hy-Vee now selling DSW shoes in latest fashion partnership

If the shoe fits, Hy-Vee is hoping consumers will want to buy it at a supermarket.Hy-Vee in April announced its partnership with DSW Designer Shoe…
The Mall of America opened again for the first time since mid-March, where most shoppers wore face masks Wednesday.

Mall of America reopens, with only 150 of 500 stores open Wednesday

Still, the small crowd seemed to find favorites among open storefronts.
The student is Lexi Crowell. This photo was taken in the classroom during a hands on practice class in 2018 at Northwestern Health Sciences University

CenterPoint Massage School in St. Louis Park stops enrolling students

The pandemic was the final blow; students will likely be able to transfer to a Bloomington school.
Employees took a break Wednesday from cleaning up damage from riots and looting at the Kmart store on E. Lake Street in Minneapolis. It will not reope

At Kmart in Minneapolis, the blue light special's last gleaming

Kmart's liquidation sale stopped soon after it started with discounts ranging from 25% to 75% off merchandise as it wound down to the planned June 30 closure. Instead, the looting and violence that followed the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police accelerated the closing.
The Family Dollar Store at Lake Street and 10th Ave. burned early Friday morning.

Minneapolis neighborhoods face food desert after looting closes stores

With Cub, Target, two Aldi stores and many small markets damaged by rioting over the past week, Longfellow and about eight other neighborhoods have nearly…
Target loses another appeal to obtain liquor license from city of Minnetonka

Target loses another appeal to obtain liquor license from city of Minnetonka

Target's claim was denied that it deserved equal protection to Total Wine.
ARC Value Village donation center support employees Andrew Harmer, left, and Erik Westenfield unloaded items to be donated from a vehicle Thursday mor

More donors, consignors than customers as thrift, resale stores reopen

And wait times for drive-up drop-offs are declining, while shops expect pent-up demand.
Kate Andersen was among the shoppers who returned to the Patina store in Minneapolis. Sales have been slowly coming back.

After reopening, Patina owners hopeful but still wonder about stores' future

Stores are reopening, but owners are hoping it is not too late to save them.
BP 36 Lyn Refuel Station owner Lonnie McQuirter talked with a regular as he manned the register Friday morning.

Gas prices up for Memorial Day but still cheapest in 17 years

Averaging about $1.85 per gallon in the Twin Cities, it's the first time that gas has dipped below the $2 threshold for the holiday weekend since 2003.
Friends Jon Feustel, left, and Mark Siebenaller, from the North Loop, drank beer and ate pizza from the Freehouse in the courtyard outside the brewpub

Minnesota restaurant owners feel blindsided by state's order only allowing patio dining

Owners had been planning for inside dining with restrictions come June 1 and aren't sure limiting to outside will work.
Shoppers made their way through Rosedale Center in Roseville on Monday as some of the stores opened for business.

Minnesota retail shops are open again, but foot traffic is light

The state is allowing all stores to open as long as they file safety plans and limit capacity to 50%.
Bill Kozlak, owner of Jax Cafe, recently went without a paycheck for the first time since he was a teenager.

Will beloved Twin Cities restaurants survive COVID-19?

Many of those working in the Twin Cities' nationally recognized food scene are saying that their industry is in big trouble and might never recover.
HOM chief executive Rod Johansen is in the Gabberts part of the retailer's new Bloomington megastore. The custom forged iron gates were originally in

HOM opening Bloomington megastore on Friday that includes Gabberts, Dock 86

Gabberts will leave the Galleria with the move.
Several insurers are giving policyholders discounts because Americans are driving less. For example, fewer cars head into or out of downtown Minneapol

Car insurance rebates are coming, but are they enough?

Crashes have dropped sharply under stay-at-home orders, saving insurers billions.
This week is Comcast's annual "Watchathon."

Comcast offers freebies this week during 'Watchathon'

Comcast customers wondering when the cable provider would show some love during the stay-at-home order, pick up your remote.Through Sunday, Comcast pulls back the curtain…
Hy-Vee has added an online ordering express service for a $9.95 fee, including at this store in Savage.

Hy-Vee adds 2-hour order pickup option for $9.95

Supermarkets are expanding their online ordering options and staffing to reduce wait times.
Billy Otero, left, and Michael Olson stocked the meat shelves at Cub Foods near 46th Street and Hiawatha Avenue in Minneapolis.

Costco limits meat purchases as stores keep an eye on supply

Hy-Vee will join Costco in beginning to impose limits on meat purchases in response to temporary shutdowns at beef, pork and poultry processing plants in Minnesota and across the country.
Goodthings owner Tyler Conrad prepared his shop for handling online and drive-up orders Thursday in White Bear Lake.

COVID-19 forces local brick and mortar retailers into e-commerce

It's a lifeline but it is rarely profitable for small business.
Shopper Dobro Hajek wore a mask at a Costco store in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Costco says shoppers must wear face masks in stores starting Monday

It is the first such policy for a major national retailer, and it's already sparked debate.
Mark Schwandt, co-owner of Bauhaus Brew Labs, handed Krista and Paul Marino 15 crowlers, about $140 worth of beer after taxes.

Minnesota's craft brewers say they are in trouble

More than half say they could be forced to close in 90 days if the stay-at-home is extended.
The Hy-Vee grocery store in Cottage Grove.

Hy-Vee latest Twin Cities grocery to require employees to wear masks

The supermarket joins retailers from Target and Walmart to Lunds & Byerlys and Kowalski's with the new policy.
Slumberland has started opening stores. Shown here is its store in Fargo, N.D.

Furniture stores including HOM, Slumberland starting to reopen, mostly by appointment only

Owners say a clarification from state allows under stay-at-home order, but several restrictions are in place.
Danielle Hoppe, a customer service manager at a Cub Food in Mankato, cleaned grocery baskets. The Mankato West store has been open 24 hours a day sinc

Cub bucks trend, making 11 more stores open 24 hours

CEO said the move provides more options to workers with varied shifts.
Kristi Hertz of St. Louis Park is one of more than 480,000 Minnesotans who found herself out of work after the coronavirus caused an unprecedented eco

Suddenly unemployed, worried Minnesotans are left scrambling

Here's just one sign of the toll: Of the more than 482,000 Minnesotans who have scrambled to apply for unemployment benefits since March 16, 400,000-plus of those applications are new accounts.
A man passes a store that closed as part of efforts to combat the spread of the new coronavirus. About one in 10 U.S. workers lost jobs in the past th

Recently unemployed in Minnesota? Here's what you need to know

More than 16 million U.S. workers have lost their jobs in the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, forcing many to scramble after losing a job. Here are things you need to know about getting help in Minnesota.
Lunds & Byerlys has taken several measures to enforce social distancing and protect employees and shoppers.

Lunds & Byerlys asks shoppers to go solo in stores

The move is one of many by supermarkets to protect both employees and shoppers from the coronavirus. Many are now making some aisles one-way to reduce congestion and further encourage social distancing.
Shoppers Diane and Jack Dalin of Bloomington searched for bread while navigating the aisles of Lunds and Byerlys in Edina during an early morning hour

Grocery shopping levels still rising, but not at frenzied levels

"The speed at which this occurred went from zero to 400 in four days," Curt Funk, senior vice president of merchandising for Lunds & Byerlys, said of the buying sprees in the past month.
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.