Yesterday, May 27th, was the seventh anniversary of the 10th birthday of our beloved leader. In other words, Julie Ingebretsen is celebrating her 70th birthday.
Julie is the granddaughter of Ingebretsen’s founder, Charles Ingebretsen, Sr., and the daughter of Charles (aka Bud and aka Hoot) Ingebretsen, Jr.
Julie is the oldest child of four. Her mother, Honore (Adams) Ingebretsen was part Irish as well as Scandinavian so Julie and her siblings were “assimilated” and raised Irish Catholic with a quite a bit of Norwegian thrown into the mix.
In 1974, when Julie was between jobs, her family suggested that she manage the new gift store that was opening next to the meat market and deli. Julie, then at the ripe old age of 25, accepted the job, thinking that she would be here “for a while.” Forty-five years later she is still here – and are we ever glad.
In 1996 Julie was interviewed as part of an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune celebrating Ingebretsen’s 75th anniversary:
“After college – the University of Minnesota and Metro State University – Julie taught for a year in the early 70s in St. Paul. ‘It was a little free school,’ she said, ‘unfunded and founded on ideals and little else. I thought that education was the way to change the world. It was really hard, but it felt good.’
“When finances and other problems closed the school, she went to work in a chemical milling factory, finishing parts for hearing aids, until she got rashes from the chemicals.
“Then the gift shop opened.
“’When it opened, I thought I’d do this for a while until I decided what to do with my life.’”
Prior to taking on the gift shop Julie had only worked once in the market/deli washing sausage casings. “I did it once and that was enough.”
Her favorite parts of her job are solving problems for people, working on displays and arranging merchandise, and looking at and buying different products for the store. “Basically,” she said “I like playing store.”
Her least favorite part is all the bookwork involved in running a store.
Julie is also active in the local community and enjoys being involved. Over the years while the people in the community may change, the issues are the same. Her years in the area have given her the knowledge to help work through the issues.
In the same 1996 article, a senior project coordinator for the Minneapolis Community Development Agency said:
“’She’s taken an active role in redevelopment and on safety and security issues and anything else that’s the issue of the moment. Whenever I show up at a meeting, she’s there.’”
“’…I have a whole new sense of how important we [Ingebretsen’s] are to the neighborhood,’ she said. ‘We’re an anchor, a constant presence. So we made a conscious decision to stay and do what we could.’”
When asked what her idea of a perfect job would be Julie said she’d like to have a column like Ms. Fixit where people write in with problems and she would find a solution. When not at the store Julie enjoys spending time outdoors walking or hiking and “bird watching is kind of her thing” with hopes to do more birding in the future. She loves to read as much as she can but unfortunately right now that isn’t much.
When asked what skill she would love to have that she currently does not have she said it would be woodcarving.
Julie has two children, a daughter Anna, who works at the store, and Erik. She has two grandsons, Oscar who is 6 and Elliott who is 1-1/2 – they don’t work at the store, yet. She and her husband Steve live in Southwest Minneapolis with their cat Peanut.
When asked how it feels after 45 years at the store Julie said:
“I feel grateful to be here after all this time. Many of the employees have also been here almost from the beginning. It’s been a great place to be. Working with and for the world’s best customers, and providing them with excellent products and connections to their heritage, is an honor. As is being able to carry on my grandpa’s and dad’s vision and values for so long – it’s gratifying and amazing to be rapidly approaching our 100th anniversary!”
Gratulerer med dagen Julie!