Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame
A trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Ingebretsen's Nordic Marketplace is like traveling to Scandinavia and back without ever leaving the continent. Ingebretsen’s is the Twin Cities' oldest retail business dedicated completely to Scandinavian foods and products. Family owned and operated since 1921, it is more than a store—it's a local institution and a unique connection to another place and time. The neighborhood market and meeting place is a source of familiar faces and reliable goods and a frequent stop for visiting dignitaries and celebrities.
Founder Charles Ingebretsen emigrated from Norway in the early 1900s, the only member of his family to leave the country. He became a butcher in Fargo, ND, then moved to Minneapolis and established meat markets serving the Norwegian-American populace. One of the locations, Model Meat Market on East Lake Street, would evolve into today’s store. Charles Jr. (“Bud”) took the reins following WWII and added partner Warren Dahl, who introduced a wider variety of ethnic food offerings. More change came in the 60s and 70s when, in response to new generations of Scandinavian-Americans showing interest in their heritage, the store expanded further, adding a gift shop and earning a new name: Ingebretsen’s Scandinavian Center. Some difficult decades followed in what was, for a time, considered a tough part of town — but in the spirit of the heritage that inspired the store, Ingebretsen's weathered the adversity and remains an anchor in the now-bustling Lake Street commercial district.
The Ingebretsen’s of today offers not only extensive food items, a kaffe bar, gifts and special sections devoted to needlework and children's interests, but classes in cooking, crafts, culture and stitchery. Newer ventures include a second store in Stockholm (Wisconsin), a location at Minneapolis’s Norway House, a thriving mail-order operation, and online sales. But after nearly a century, the key ingredients to Ingebretsen’s' success are as they’ve always been: heritage, community and traditions.
Julie Steller, of Steller Handcrafted Goods will present the award and Julie Ingebretsen, granddaughter of the Norwegian immigrant founder, will accept on behalf of the family.