BLAINE — A longtime market in the Quad community may be under new ownership, but customers should not expect to see any drastic changes.
Blaine resident Steve Awad and his father Tony took over Olson's Market in October after longtime owners Mike and Leslie Olson decided to retire and sell their business, located at 10102 Sunset Ave. in Blaine. The Olsons, residents of Maple Grove, have owned the store for more than 27 years.
“We are both 71, and it was time to get on with doing something with our lives while we still have reasonably good health,” Mike explained. “The neighborhood has always been supportive, and it has been a pleasure to be there.”
Mike added, “The Awads are really nice, good people. They live in Blaine and are truly part of the community and the neighborhood. It made it much easier for Leslie and I to exit, knowing that the store was going to be in good hands.”
Previously, Tony owned a gas station in Brooklyn Center for 11 years. Even though Steve was involved in that operation, this will be the first time he will take on ownership responsibilities. Steve said the main attraction to buying Olson's, despite the short commute, was the neighborhood.
“This neighborhood is really nice. I enjoy the interactions with the customers; they have all been very welcoming,” Steve said. “I used to work in another neighborhood that wasn't as tight-knit, and the people didn't care about their neighborhood.”
Steve graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2008 with a degree in computer engineering and a minor in management.
The Awads do not have any big changes planned for the business, as they want to continue to provide what customers have come to expect over the years.
“We are going to keep the same contracts going; we have the same employees and the same deals,” Steve explained. “People who have been coming here a long time are used to what he (Mike) offers in terms of service, products and employees.”
Of course, any change of ownership brings some uncertainty. Shortly after it was announced that Olson's would be under new ownership, rumors started to circulate on social media sites and mobile apps such as Nextdoor. There was some concern that the business was going to have a smoke shop in its former DVD section, which Steve says is not true.
“Some things are blown out of proportion,” he said. “I don't blame people for reacting the way they did. That means they care about their community.”
Instead of a smoke shop, Steve would like to turn the corner of the shop into a space where area artists can either display and or sell their artwork, crafts and jewelry. Local artists can reach out to him to work out the details if they are interested.
Another rumor going around was that the new owners were getting rid of the former employees, which Steve said is also false. He confirmed that a couple of employees recently left for other reasons, among them a move out of state and a job change. “I like all the employees; they all have great relationships with the customers and are very professional. I want to keep that going,” he said.
Editor Shannon Granholm can be reached at 651-407-1227 or email@example.com.