Staff Directory 6370594

John Ewoldt

Reporter | Consumer news
Phone: 612-673-7633

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
A Cub Foods in Apple Valley. Since the 1990s, Cub has dominated the Twin Cities market.

As the Twin Cities supermarket battle heats up, who is No. 1?

The pandemic not only increased grocery profits as restrictions forced people to eat at home, it also intensified an already competitive market in the Twin Cities area.
Tellers Kathy Romero,  left, and Gabrielle Kohlmeier handle accounts at the St. Paul Federal Credit Union.

How to earn up to 5% interest on a Minnesota checking account

Higher interest rates come with hurdles customers must clear each month.
Many metro officials including Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, Minnesota Department of Pubic Safety commissioner John Harr

In early evening, businesses in the Twin Cities scramble to close down

Businesses in the state's three largest counties had just a few hours to close up before a 7 p.m. curfew.
Famous Dave's sales were up in March. (ALEX KORMANN/Star Tribune)

Famous Dave's, Granite City saw turnaround in March after weathering a devastating 2020

Owner BBQ Holdings also announced Famous Dave's would close Woodbury location, enter in dual concept with Cowboy Jack's there.
Sandra Woods

Minneapolis principal Sandra Woods dies at 79

Remembering names of elementary school teachers presents a challenge for most adults. Recalling the name of an elementary principal is a test few could pass.Unless…
Jun Abematsu smiled at a regular customer from behind the counter at his Sushi Takatsu in the Baker Center.

Mpls. skyway retailers in limbo: 'It's been absolute devastation'

The Minneapolis skyway system used to be traversed by hundreds of thousands of people every weekday. Since the pandemic and unrest that began after George Floyd's death, most of the 200 or so businesses on or just off the skyway have closed. For places that are open, business is down.
Famous Dave’s Quick Que, opening in Coon Rapids in late summer, will aim to cut order times to under three minutes, similar to Chipotle. (Provided p

Famous Dave's to serve up cafeteria-style dining with new Quick Que

Famous Dave's Quick Que will open in Coon Rapids in late summer.
The Ultimate Scraper is made in North Dakota and Minnesota. (Provided photo)

Minnesota product is the trick to scraping ice from your driveway

His effective sidewalk device is environmental alternative to ice melters.
Madalyn Holm stocked and organized clothing Tuesday at the Edina Evereve store. (ELIZABETH FLORES/Star Tribune)

Edina-based Evereve is opening shops, even as other retailers close stores

Evereve is expanding its Edina flagship store and will open at least six new locations this year.
Allen Dahmen, who owns Pierz Foods along with his wife, Jill, stocked a freezer in Pierz, Minn. “The only thing I compete against the big stores wit

Rural grocers in Minnesota feel the pinch amid stiff competition

Dollar stores, big-box retailers bring stiff competition, but buy-local trend giving mom-and-pop store owners optimism.
New features have been added to the Cub Foods off Lake Street, including a global foods market with Mediterranean, Hispanic and Caribbean offerings.

Cub Foods store off Lake Street, destroyed by rioting, reopens

Another closed Cub, on Broadway, will fully reopen in April with a new name and community center.
The exterior of the Hy-Vee in Spring Lake Park is done, but not interior work. (JOHN EWOLDT/Star Tribune)

Hy-Vee adding two full-service Twin Cities stores this year

The former Rainbow store owned by UNFI in Maplewood will become a Hy-Vee.
Owner Bill Damberg arranged the window display at Brightwater Clothing & Gear on Water Street in Excelsior. He changes the displays every week. Thanks

Buy local movement saved many small Minnesota retailers

Small retailers, learning from 2020, hope increased support endures.
Norton Rockler, who ignited passion for woodworking hobbyists, dies at 98

Norton Rockler, who ignited passion for woodworking hobbyists, dies at 98

He spent about 25 years laying the foundation for the business he founded in 1954, now known as Rockler Woodworking and Hardware.
Anahi Ibarra, a Hy-Vee employee shopping for e-customers, picked items for Hy-Vee’s online home delivery and curbside pickup program Wednesday in Ea

Hy-Vee, other Twin Cities supermarkets add incentives to keep new e-commerce customers

Consulting firm Mercatus predicts that online purchases will double by 2025.
Bed Bath & Beyond is closing over 40 stores, including one in Coon Rapids. (Zvi Lowenthal/The New York Times)

Bed Bath & Beyond closing Coon Rapids store

More than 40 of its stores will close their doors by mid to late February.
Brian Graham cut Faye Washington’s hair in December at his former Tuesday afternoon at his former North Loop salon. (ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.sou

Minneapolis North Loop hair stylist decides to take step back, close salon

Instead, he is renting a chair at another salon to give more balance to his life.
“2020 was one of the best years we’ve ever had in more than 100 years in business,” said Matt Morelli, CEO of Morelli’s Discount Liquor & Meat

As restaurants, bars closed, liquor stores neared sales records in 2020

Statewide, gross liquor receipts for the year through October increased about 20% to almost $32 million for municipal and nonmunicipal stores.
With the help of former Dayton’s employees, the luxury apparel store partnered with Minnesota Dance Theatre.

Martin Patrick's 'Nutcracker' window display beats out Rodeo Drive in national contest

Martin Patrick 3's "Nutcracker" beats out retailers on Rodeo Drive.
Gift cards for sale at the Minnetonka Best Buy.

Minnesota retailers say gift card bounty not reaching all of them equally

While sales are expected to reach records nationally, buyers need to make sure their purchases are with solid retailers.
Mary Fritz, owner of Board and Batten, at her Lakeville store. “This holiday season will be the difference of us staying in business or not,” she

On Small Business Saturday, stakes are high for small Twin Cities retailers

On Small Business Saturday, owners are gearing up for a critical fourth quarter.
Chris Walton and Anne Mezzenga have launched the Urban Rooster website to give small Minneapolis retailers an online presence.

Small Twin Cities retailers plan virtual events

• The Metropolitan Economic Development Association offers its first virtual shopping experience at meda.net/medas-marketplace through Dec. 6 to support Black, Indigenous and people of…
Shelves at a grocery store sat empty in Happy Valley, Ore., on Nov. 14, the day after the governor announced new restrictions.

Twin Cities grocers prepare for holiday run on goods; supplies remain strong

Supermarkets around the country are implementing limits on paper products.
Chicago Lake Liquors owner John Wolf stocked shelves on Wednesday in preparation of the Thursday reopening after rioting and fires destroyed the inter

Chicago Lake Liquors reopens after Minneapolis looting

Riot-damaged Chicago Lake Liquors reopens after $3 million rebuild.
Dorothy Holmes

Dorothy Holmes, who advocated for the mentally ill, dies at 98

In 1977, more than 280 people showed up in Madison, Wis., to start an alliance for the mentally ill, later named NAMI, the National Alliance…
Red Wing Shoes suffered a cybersecurity incident on Halloween that caused the retailer to shut down e-commerce on its website.

Red Wing Shoes suffers cybersecurity incident

The company hired a forensics firm and is still investigating.
Famous Dave’s saw year-over-year same-store sales drop over the summer months, but did better than expected. (ALEX KORMANN/ alex.kormann@startribune

Owner of Famous Dave's sees promise as shift to takeout pays off

CEO of BBQ Holdings is optimistic, but says company could be in for a difficult winter.
Storm Creek is holding a warehouse sale this week in Eagan.

Eagan outerwear company building brand comparable to Patagonia, North Face

Storm Creek in Eagan is having a warehouse sale to increase recognition, give to charities.
Meat cutter Mark Walfoort donned personal protective equipment while displaying tenderloin beef at a Lunds & Byerlys in Roseville. Walfoort keeps 10 w

Rising COVID-19 cases heighten worker safety concerns for Minnesota retailers

Retailers and stores are ramping up precautions ahead of the holiday season.
Deborah Keaveny, pharmacist at Keaveny Drug in Winsted, Minn., fills a prescription for Ruth, a longtime customer. Small, independent pharmacies are c

Minnesota's independent, family pharmacies struggle to survive

Minnesota has more pharmacies that have closed in the last decade than any state.
Chino Latino had been in decline for several years, said its co-founder, but the COVID-19 pandemic and the unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s kill

Uptown restaurant Chino Latino closes after 20 years

Owners say the global street food restaurant "will live again" in new location.
ProSource is partnering with Jack Rubenstein Wholesale for a sales event next week, letting the general public in its showroom for tradespeople.

Kitchen, flooring remodeling blitz benefits Jack Rubenstein wholesaler

The 84-year-old wholesaler now focuses on home-project deals.
Famous Dave's made a deal with another restaurant chain to increase takeout/delivery options.

Famous Dave's creating 'ghost kitchens,' dual concept through Johnny Carino's deal

Agreement allows chain to open kitchens or sites with Johnny Carino's.
Southdale Mall anchors Macy's and Herberger's. ] GLEN STUBBE * gstubbe@startribune.com Thursday, November 17, 2016 1002522579 - Do stores still make a

Why do so many Twin Cities mall names end in 'dale'?

Southdale was designed to be more than a shopping experience, complete with a day care center, aviary, fish pond and sidewalk cafes.
Golden Valley-based Room & Board is celebrating 40 years this year.

Furniture retailer Room & Board has best August, September in history

Adjusting with the times, the retailer has expanded its online operation, which now accounts for 60% of its sales.
Bob Hemp of Brooklyn Park served himself wearing a mask and gloves at Golden Corral Buffet and Grill in Maple Grove.

With business down more than a third, restaurants dreading winter chill

Without outdoor dining, restaurants say they will need aid from Washington.
Last year’s Financial Planning Day at the Wilder Center in St. Paul. This year, it will be held virtually.

Financial Planning Day in Minnesota goes virtual; free consultations offered

The annual event will be extended to six days because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Aldi team including Liz Burnard, left, and Gwen Klingelhoets, stocked the shelves in preparation for the 27th Avenue store's reopening next week.

Aldi off Lake Street reopening next week, joining other businesses in area

The Cub and Target rebuilding plans are moving forward as more businesses reopen after being damaged in the unrest following the killing of George Floyd.
Rendering of the retail/apartment complex at the former Ford site in St. Paul that will be anchored by Lunds & Byerlys.

Lunds & Byerlys to expand, move Highland Park store to former Ford site

The supermarket will anchor a retail/apartment complex at the new Highland Bridge.
Linden Hills Coop in Minneapolis is still giving workers COVID-19 hazard pay.

Supermarket hazard pay because of COVID-19 going away

Some retailers have raised wages permanently, while others deal with new norm of pandemic times.
The Costco store in Eden Prairie. A location planned for Chaska will bring the number of Twin Cities locations to nine.

Construction should start in spring on Costco store proposed for Chaska

The project, near the Kohls, would also include senior housing and apartments.
Enviro-Chem President Todd Meyer showed some of the gold he has purchased recently. Some of the precious metal will be melted down to bars.

At nearly $2K an ounce, a new gold rush for Minnesotans

As the price soars, buyers expect people to start digging through their jewelry collections again.
Seth Johnson, a supervisor with MP Johnson Construction, measured a window to be boarded up at Brit’s Pub on Nicollet Mall.

Businesses assess damage after riots and looting hit Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis

This latest hit for Minneapolis restaurants and shops comes on top of the pandemic.
Amanda Marek

Mandy Marek, Spanish teacher who carved new paths for Hispanic students, dies at 37

She taught at Shakopee West Middle School until cancer abruptly ended her career and her life.
Seward Co-op and its union came to agreement on a three-year contract that raises hourly pay to $15.

Seward Co-op becomes first Twin Cities unionized supermarket to raise hourly pay to $15

The co-op and its union agreed to a three-year contract this week.
The ReStore in New Brighton has doubled in size. (JOHN EWOLDT/Star Tribune)

Habitat for Humanity thrift store in New Brighton doubles in size

It remains one of the only thrift stores in the Twin Cities dedicated to home improvement.
BBQ Holdings’ CEO Jeff Crivello, left, and founder Dave Anderson posed for a portrait at the test kitchen in 2019.

Famous Dave's owner sees steep decline in profits, sales

The pandemic severely affected second quarter results for Famous Dave's owner BBQ Holdings, which also owns Granite City.
The exterior of the Hy-Vee in Spring Lake Park is completed, but interior work has not begun.

Hy-Vee delays Spring Lake Park store opening because of coronavirus

Construction pending on five other Twin Cities locations, but plans have not been canceled.
The Hy-Vee grocery store in Cottage Grove.

Hy-Vee joins ranks of supermarkets accepting SNAP/EBT for online orders

SNAP/EBT users can use the Aisles Online pickup shop at Hy-Vee's website or mobile app and collect their order at the store of their choice.
Proozy.com CEO Jeremy Segal photographed in his company's Eagan warehouse.

With switch to 'quarantine style,' Twin Cities retailers left with unsold clothes

But the disruption has created a windfall for an Eagan-based e-commerce clearance store.
Randy Pietilainen of Apple Valley on Friday exited the Lunds & Byerlys in Burnsville.

Most Twin Cities supermarket chains joining Walmart, Target in mask mandate

Hy-Vee is sticking for now with encouraging, but not enforcing, their use.
The staff at Assistance League Thrift — where Diana Monaghan shopped Wednesday — is “being overly cautious,” shop manager Dana Badgerow said.

Thrift, secondhand stores back in business — with restrictions because of coronavirus

But four Salvation Army stores closed permanently in greater Minnesota because of the COVID pandemic.
Faribault Woolen Mill has opened a new store in Linden Hills at 3413 W. 44th St.

Faribault Woolen Mill opens new Linden Hills location, adds Minnesota-themed products

Customers will see more color and new designs in products this fall, new fabrics and some Minnesota-themed goods.
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

Twin Cities furniture stores offer sales, free financing to coax shoppers back

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.