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Kowalski Markets founder dies in accident

James (Jim) Kowalski, co-founder of Kowalski Markets, died in an accident Sept. 5 while on a fishing trip in Ontario. He was 67.

Customers as well as current and former employees spoke of Mr. Kowalski’s kindness, one noting that he was more of a father than a boss.

“Jim and Mary Anne Kowalski have both received the highest honors in the industry,” according to the Kowalski Markets website. “Jim as Minnesota Grocer of the Year and Mary Anne as the National Grocers Association Woman of the Year. But the real accomplishments have come through building lasting relationships with customers and employees.”

Kowalski Markets was founded in 1983, when Mr. Kowalski and his wife took over an underperforming Red Owl store. They purchased a second store in 1986, and Kowalski Markets has now grown to a nine-store chain in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

The chain’s stores are set up to look like a European village and are known for their “signature European market theme.”