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Nelson's Owner Talks Meat Market's Half Century History

Rick Nelson talks about menu changes at the St. Louis Park location and the history of Nelson's.

Rick Nelson started working at his father's meat market as a 10-year-old dishwasher the day it opened in the mid-1960s. 

He kept at it through high school and college. Once he graduated from the University of Minnesota, he decided to put his journalism degree on ice and head into the family business. 

When his father died in 1979, Nelson found himself the owner at just 24 years old.

For more than three decades he ran Nelson's out of its original Hopkins location until a reconstruction project on Shady Oak Road forced him to move earlier this fall. 

"We were a neighborhood business for 48 years in Hopkins," he says, "and that's what we're hoping to be in St. Louis Park."

The meat market, bakery and deli opened its doors at 6318 Minnetonka Boulevard last Friday. 

Nelson said the new location will offer a salad bar and ready-to-eat options such as Arizona chicken breasts and garlic Greek flank rolls. But the smaller size of the St. Louis Park store meant that he had to cut donuts and fried rolls from the menu, 

"I've been getting lots of sad faces from customers," Nelson said. "I have three grownup sons who are not happy with me either."
G WAYNE November 15, 2013 at 01:13 AM
Interesting.. Nelson's was in Hopkins for many years. Did the council send them away? Why?
Eric Anondson November 15, 2013 at 11:04 PM
Um. G Wayne? It has been in the news for years. The county says they need to widen Shady Oak Road to allow more Minnetonka drivers whiz through Hopkins unencumbered. Wider roads don't just happen, property must be taken and the Hopkins businesses all lost out to the Minnetonka drivers. The building Nelson's was in was among those property losers.
G WAYNE November 16, 2013 at 12:22 AM
I was not questioning the reconstruction of Shady Oak Rd I was inquiring why Nelsons relocated to St Louis Pk after so many years in Hopkins. Do you have an answer?
Eric Anondson November 17, 2013 at 02:53 PM
Attractive rent price for the amount of needed space, with a nicely trafficked location.
G WAYNE November 17, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Certainly hope you are correct Nelson's was a mainstay of MainStreet for many years. They moved because the building was removed and to St Louis Pk ,.because of space which it sounds like they did not get enough and low rent and tracffic. Those reasons do not seem like a good enough reason the leave a home town.

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