Feb 8, 2024 - News

Southdale, Ridgedale malls in line for a Kowalski's

A rendering of a Kowalskis' grocery store

A rendering of the store Kowalski's is planning at Southdale Center. Image courtesy of Kowalski's Markets

Kowalski's will soon open a grocery store at an indoor mall in the Twin Cities. It'll be the first one since 1967.

Why it matters: Adding grocery stores is the latest way malls are reinventing themselves.

Driving the news: Woodbury-based Kowalski's is building a 34,000-square-foot store in the former Herberger's space at Edina's Southdale Center. When it opens in April, it will have an entrance facing York Avenue and one from the interior of Southdale.

  • The company is also drawing up designs to remake the former Sears Auto Center at Minnetonka's Ridgedale Center, owner Kris Kowalski Christiansen told Axios.

State of play: Regional malls have lost many of the department stores that have attracted people since their early days. Owners have turned to experiential sporting goods stores, food halls, and health clubs to bring people back.

Zoom out: Pure grocery stores are rare at indoor malls in the U.S., with the caveat that many are home to Target stores that also sell groceries, including the one at Eden Prairie Center.

Between the lines: Don't think of this as the grocery store targeting malls. Rather, Kowalski Christiansen said, the company has wanted to open stores in both suburbs for a long time. The malls have vacant space and ample parking.

  • In recent years, luxury housing has boomed around malls like Southdale and Ridgedale, providing more shoppers for the upscale Kowalski's.
  • "All of these condo buildings and apartment buildings [are] popping up all over the place — it just works perfect for us," she said.

Reality check: The narrative that indoor shopping centers are dying isn't true everywhere. Mall of America is thriving as usual, as are Rosedale Center and Ridgedale. Southdale is undergoing major renovations to attract luxury retailers and new restaurants.

The bottom line: The properties that are thriving are the ones where owners are making big investments, said JLL retail broker Ted Gonsior.

  • The addition of grocery stores, he said, will help create a consumer habit that brings them to malls more often.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Kowalski's will be the first grocery store in a Twin Cities indoor mall since 1967 (not the first ever).

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