Biz Buzz: Michaels hosts grand opening

Loide Oils and Vinegars closes downtown Brainerd store until future notice. Walmart announces it will add EV fast-charging stations to thousands of stores.

Artificial flowers are displayed at Michaels
A section of artificial flowers adds a bright pop of color at Michaels arts and crafts store, which opened in March and celebrated a grand opening Saturday, April 1, 2023.
Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

BAXTER — Michaels celebrated its grand opening April 1 in Baxter complete with the Easter Bunny, cake, giveaways and activities.

Baxter Mayor Darrel Olson and City Council members Connie Lyscio and Zach Tabatt were on hand for the grand opening ceremony along with members from the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce and Rhonda Carlson, store manager in Baxter, as well as Jim Pearson, Michaels district manager.

Baxter City Council member and mayor give a plaque to Michaels' staff.
Baxter Mayor Darrel Olson, center, presents a plaque welcoming Michaels to the city during the arts and crafts store's grand opening Saturday, April 1, 2023. Council members Connie Lyscio and Zach Tabatt also attended with Rhonda Carlson, Michaels store manager, to Olson's right and Jim Pearson, Michaels district manager, to his left. <br/>
Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

Olson welcomed the Michaels arts and crafts store as an addition and enhancement to the shopping in the area. Olson said for city leaders, empty buildings cause concern and Baxter has been fortunate in that regard. So when OfficeMax closed its store next to Target, Olson said there was a pause — but not for long.

“How excited we were, you guys never missed a beat,” Olson said. “You came in right behind and got things going. … And we are here today. … So we’re really excited that you’re here. We’re happy that you filled the building and I know people are excited about what’s happened here.”

On behalf of the council, Olson presented Carlson with a plaque welcoming the business and wishing it success.


An Easter Bunny with basket offers candy to a child at the Michaels store in Baxter.
An Easter Bunny with basket offers candy to a child during the grand opening Saturday morning, April 1, 2023, at the Michaels arts and crafts store next to Target in Baxter.<br/>
Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

Carlson said the opening is going well with customers responding enthusiastically since the soft opening. Lyscio noted she had already made multiple trips to the store.

Customers arriving for the open house received a gift bag with a coupon. Cake was on hand with popcorn. Activities included face painting, portrait drawings completed in minutes, prizes, and a painting demonstration utilizing items sold by Michaels.

The store features gift items, craft kits, yarn, paint supplies from large canvas to brushes, a host of artificial flowers, framing center, tools for crafters, home decor, party supplies, baking supplies, kids art and crafts, chalk art rollers, Mason jars, rows of ribbons, storage and paper crafts, jewelry and clothing crafts and seasonal decor.

Roller chalk display at Michaels
Roller chalk at Michaels in Baxter.
Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

The store design is what Michaels calls a small format store, but there are plenty of offerings and supplies. In the case of the store here, that format fits within the smaller building provided by the former OfficeMax space and leaves plenty of room in the back for Michaels’ use and storage. The retail area may be a bit smaller than shoppers may be familiar with from a Michaels store, but the smaller format size is also opening up in different locations and communities.

A customer checks out the yarn at Michaels
A customers looks at the yarn available at the new Michaels arts and crafts store in Baxter during the grand opening Saturday, April 1, 2023.
Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

“We're going to be able to give people a lot more options with the crafting that people like to do, especially after COVID, people kind of got into the crafting a lot more and now they can come in and touch and feel it versus ordering it online,” Carlson said previously when they were setting up the store. “So I think that's going to be a benefit. And then our staff, my staff, I'm super excited because we are going to be the makers’ helpers when they come in.”

Loide Oils and Vinegars recently put up signs in the Downtown Brainerd location on Laurel Street saying the business was closed until further notice.

“If you know of a reliable person, who knows how to work and wants to work, have them contact me,” the sign stated.

Exterior of Loide Oils and Vinegars in Downtown Brainerd
Loide Oils and Vinegars and Luxury Appliances on Laurel Street in Downtown Brainerd is closed until further notice, citing a lack of staff in signs posted at the store as of March 27, 2023.
Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

The business has other locations, including Nisswa.


It expanded into Downtown Brainerd as part of the Destination Downtown Business Challenge contest as a finalist with the oils and vinegars and luxury appliances. Additional signs on the store windows also list the building, once the Bead Box store, for rent.

Headline News from the Brainerd Dispatch

Walmart reports it is going to install electric vehicle fast-charging stations at thousands of Walmart stores and Sam’s Club locations across the country.

“As our customers and members continue to look for ways to save money and live better, I am excited to announce our plans at Walmart and Sam’s Club in the U.S. to make electric vehicle (EV) ownership more accessible, reliable, convenient and affordable for them across the country,” Vishal Kapadia, senior vice president, energy transformation, reported Thursday. “By 2030, we intend to build our own EV fast-charging network at thousands of Walmart and Sam’s Club locations coast-to-coast. This would be in addition to the almost 1,300 EV fast-charging stations we already have available at more than 280 U.S. facilities.

“With a store or club located within 10 miles of approximately 90% of Americans, we are uniquely positioned to deliver a convenient charging option that will help make EV ownership possible whether people live in rural, suburban or urban areas. Our goal is to meet the needs of customers and members where they live and open the road to those driving across the country. Easy access to on-the-go charging is a game-changer for drivers who have been hesitant to purchase an EV for concerns they won’t be able to find a charger in a clean, bright and safe location when needed.”

Kapadia stated drivers can then shop or get something to eat while their vehicle charges and the company can accomplish a stated commitment to help customers and members “live better, easier and more sustainable lives” in a win for families and drivers, the nation and the planet.

“This plan marks the latest investment in our efforts to transform our business and product supply chains to be more regenerative, in this case helping reduce emissions and increase efficiencies for customers. For example, we announced tests across our supply chain vehicle and fuel classes toward our goal of achieving zero emissions by 2040. And as of last year, many of our W+ customers have already been receiving their deliveries via electric vehicles.”

RENEE RICHARDSON, Brainerd Dispatch managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or . Follow on Twitter at .

Renee Richardson is managing editor at the Brainerd Dispatch. She joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 1996 after earning her bachelor's degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University.
Renee Richardson can be reached at or by calling 218-855-5852 or follow her on Twitter @dispatchbizbuzz or Facebook.
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