Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Family Marks 150 Years at Ill. Grocery

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Family Marks 150 Years at Ill. Grocery

Article excerpt

ST. ROSE, Ill. - The metal dairy containers, horse collars, carriage wheels and other artifacts that hang high on the walls at the Schuette family's St. Rose grocery store are not props, but inventory from the business' past. The high ceilings inside the small Clinton County store on St. Rose Road are adorned with these and other relics sold in the family's general store. Five generations of Schuettes continue to sell goods to customers in St. Rose 150 years later.

Fourth-generation owner Mike Schuette said the business is the oldest continually operated family grocery store in the nation. According to the Illinois Food Retailers Association, the family store is the third-oldest family-operated retailer.

"From the beginning, the whole strategy has been not as much to make money, as to help the community somehow get goods, food and supplies they need to survive," Schuette said.

"We really do try to do everything to support the local community and organizations, schools, hospitals, churches. We really try to help each city and municipality. They mean everything to us. We're totally committed to help these towns because we live here and our employees live here and we know if we don't make it here, we're out of business."

It was in this town where Schuette's great-grandfather Peter Schuette - a German immigrant - established a trading post in 1863. Schuette said that at the time, people bartered for goods.

Six years later, the trading post was Peter Schuette's full- time occupation. Peter Schuette's sons Joseph and Frank began working in the store in 1887, and the business sold dry goods, shoes, stoves, tailor-made clothes, hardware, sewing machines, barbed wire, carpets and linoleum.

The business grew and expanded to as many as 17 stores in neighboring cities throughout Southwestern

Illinois. But after World War II, the business was scaled back and 13 stores eventually were closed. …

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