WOODBURY, Minn. — Jim Kowalski, the founder of Kowalski’s Markets here, died in an accident while on a fishing trip in Canada, according to local reports. He was 67.


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Kowalski founded the upscale chain in 1986 after working for the Red Owl grocery chain. He and his wife, Mary Anne, purchased another White Owl Country Store in White Bear Lake, Minn., and converted it to Kowalski’s Market. They expanded though new-store construction and acquisitions to become one of the region’s iconic independent chains, known for its European market-style layouts and its prepared-food offerings.

According to a report in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the accident that took Kowlaski’s life took place on a float plane on a lake in Ontario about 20 miles north of Red Lake, but did not involve a crash.

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