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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Thursday June 20th 2024

Ingebretsen’s Celebrates 100 Years

By Laila Simon, Ingebretsen’s staff

The western side of Ingebretsen’s in the 90s, including the Dala Style mural painted by 
Judith Kjenstad. [Photo Credit: Julie Ingebretsen]

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Ingebretsen’s Nordic Marketplace, the hub for shopping all things Nordic in South Minneapolis. A neighborhood place, Ingebretsen’s is a store where you can stock up on everyday items like butter and eggs, as well as specialty imports.

As a fourth generation family business, celebrating one hundred years is an incredible milestone. Ask any member of the family or staff and they’ll tell you that the business is still here because of Ingebretsen’s loyal customers. You might know Ingebretsen’s as an online store for Christmas gifts and traditional foods, or as the place you drive by in December in Minnesota, with a line of people waiting in subzero temperatures all the way down the block. You may have even heard of people making “lute” (lutefisk) pilgrimages from out of state each year. But Ingebretsen’s has come to represent a lot more. It is a cultural and community gathering spot for people to share their heritage and keep family traditions alive.

Food has always been at the center of Ingebretsen’s, and shopping at the Butcher Shop & Deli is a tradition in and of itself, passed down through generations. Nancy Carlson, a customer, said, “My dad worked at Peterson Motors on 38th E Lake St from the late ’50s to the late ’60s. He would stop at Ingebretsen’s at least once a week for Scandinavian food (both parents are Norwegian). I’ve continued that tradition, although it’s not weekly, more like monthly.”

A story many people will recognize from their own family histories: Karl (Charlie) Ingebretsen immigrated to the United States from Norway in the early twentieth century. Charlie passed through Ellis Island in 1904, and soon got a job on the docks. He traveled west to Fargo, North Dakota, where he learned butchering; he then moved south to Minneapolis, where he purchased several meat and grocery stores. It was here that he met his wife, Ellen Foss, at Dania Hall, a place for Scandinavians to gather and dance.

In 1921 Charlie purchased the Model Bakery, which became the Model Meat Market. This was the same year his first son, Charles (Bud) was born. Bud grew up to run the Meat Market, and in 1960 he brought on a partner, Warren Dahl. Warren provided the recipes for Swedish meatball mix and Swedish sausage that the Ingebretsen’s butchers still use today. These continue to be Ingebretsen’s Butcher Shop & Deli’s most popular products, and from Thanksgiving to Christmas, they sell 1,000 pounds of each per day!

Christmas is the busiest time at Ingebretsen’s and many customers wait in long lines to get their traditional foods like Swedish meatball mix and lefse. [Photo Credit: Anna Bloomstrand]

The gift store was added in 1974, managed by current co-owner and daughter of Bud, Julie Ingebretsen. Julie worked alone for a short time, alongside Bud and Warren in the deli, and learned by “trial and error.” Now with a staff of over 50, the Butcher Shop & Deli, two storefronts, and a mail order department to handle all of the web sales, Ingebretsen’s is a force in the Scandinavian shopping world. Christmas is the busiest time of year for Ingebretsen’s. Julie confirms, “If it weren’t for Christmas, we wouldn’t be here. I mean, it’s huge in the general marketplace, but it’s especially huge, I think, for Scandinavians. It’s a very traditional time. Our big focus is on traditions, keeping the traditions alive, and teaching people about them.”

Customer loyalty is what kept Ingebretsen’s going through the challenges of 2020. After months of being closed during the pandemic, and the destruction that followed the tragic murder of George Floyd, people came together to help rebuild. Through the destruction and the pain, what shone through was the resiliency of this local community. Now more than ever, there is hope for what the future can bring, and Ingebretsen’s is committed to staying in the neighborhood where they made their home one hundred years ago.

You don’t stay in business for one hundred years without an extremely strong base. This includes the family as well as the dedicated employees who have helped to shape Ingebretsen’s. Julie’s daughter Anna Bloomstrand, who plans to take on more leadership in the coming years, said, “2020 was a massive change maker for us as a family and an organization – in ways that we’re just beginning to understand, and I expect that to continue for years. As a 100 year old business, this took a lot of work but our team really pulled together and kept the ship afloat.”

Julie Ingebretsen has been the manager of the gift store since it’s beginning in 1974. The Butcher Shop & Deli has been in the same place since 1921. [Photo Credit: Julie Ingebretsen]

As one of the few remaining Scandinavian stores in the United States, Ingebretsen’s has adapted and changed over the last one hundred years. What started as a simple meat market became a place of connection and community. The family invites you to stop in and take part in it.

Visit Ingebretsen’s online at or find them on facebook and instagram.

1601 East Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN 55407


M-F: 9 am – 5:30 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm

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