Minnesota Candy Store Allowed to Re-Open Due to Personal Connection with Governor Walz

According to the store owner, Robert Wagner, he was able to personally meet with the staff of Governor Walz, which led to his store being deemed “essential.”

Candy Store

A Minnesota candy store is re-opening, after its owner was able to personally contact the staff of Democratic Governor Tim Walz. 

“Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store,” the large yellow candy store located on Highway 169 in Jordan, Minnesota, was deemed to be “essential” and re-opened last Friday. 

According to the store owner, Robert Wagner, he was able to personally meet with the staff of Governor Walz, which led to his store being deemed “essential.” It is unclear how Wagner was able to contact Walz’s staff personally, but this may have started with a personal conversation between Wagner and Walz. It is also unclear how Walz and Wagner are personally connected. 

Wagner said that he and his store had satisfied the state’s safety concerns after placing “plastic dividers” at the store checkout lines, and only allowing “200 people in the store” at a time. 

This has angered many other small business owners, who operate facilities which may only have 5 to 10 persons in them at a time, if customer-facing at all, but are still closed nevertheless. Others point out that weddings are being shut down with far less than 200 persons. Pictures posted to social media of the candy store after it opened showed rows upon rows of cars parked outside—filling the large parking lot. 

Walz is under pressure after extending his stay-at-home-order to May 18. Critics point out that estimates of hospitalizations and infections in Minnesota have vastly overshot reality. They also question the consistency of a state order that has disallowed medical procedures—such as one that would allow a little girl to breath easier—while allowing abortion-on-demand. 

Completely arbitrary

Walz’s order appears especially arbitrary after the candy store was allowed to open. 

Under stated Minnesota rules, small businesses and stores are able to provide a plan to the state in order to request approval to re-open. But small business owners across the board say they have submitted a plan, and haven’t heard anything back. “Its completely arbitrary,” said one small business owner who spoke to Alpha News.

“It makes me mad that there isn’t one standard,” said a small business owner who runs a clothing shop in Southern Minnesota. “The only difference between us and them is that I don’t have the governor’s phone number, I don’t know the governor… a lot of people are very mad” they said. 

The Free Minnesota Small Business Coalition is suing the governor over the extension of the shutdown order. The group says that Walz’s decision on the candy store only further legitimizes their lawsuit. Governor Walz is “picking winners and losers,” said the group.

“The fact that this one candy store gets to open, getting special favoritism, backs up our claim that the Governor’s decisions to close down some businesses and keep other open are completely arbitrary. And if they’re arbitrary, it’s unconstitutional under the 14th amendment,” said Dan McGrath, a spokesperson for the group.

Questions for Governor Walz

Questions remain, which the lawsuit may help uncover. For one, what is the relationship between the candy store owner, Robert Wagner, and Governor Walz? Is Wagner a Walz donor, or has he held political events at his candy store?

Willis Krumholz

Willis L. Krumholz is a fellow at Defense Priorities. He holds a JD and MBA degree from the University of St. Thomas, and works in the financial services industry. The views expressed are those of the author only. You can follow Willis on Twitter @WillKrumholz.