Kessler’s 85th Anniversary
Kessler’s will be celebrating our 85th anniversary!
Anniversary sale will be in full swing with giveaways on 1/28/2024 until 2/3/2024! Stay tuned.
In 1939, George and Elizabeth Kessler leased a small grocery business at the corner of Fifth Avenue and State Street (later to be known as the Corner Lunch and now an antique store). Their son and daughter, Bob and Ann Kessler, were the only other staff. George was a butcher, Elizabeth an astute business woman, and the students, Bob and Ann, clerks and gofers. Bob was in high school, Ann in the eighth grade. Their younger brother, Ken, was a four-year old at the time Kessler’s opened.
Within a year, the family had added other associates and needed more space so the Kessler’s leased Steers Grocery a block away at the corner of State and Sixth Avenue (which was subsequently moved away to provide parking space). By 1946 that area, too, was too small (Kessler’s had more volume per square foot of space than any other store of its kind in the Midwest). George and Elizabeth constructed a building subsequently known as Jones Drug less than a block from the Steers Building. Bob had returned from military service and was assisting his parents in the store and the decision was made in 1959 to build again, this time, a store measuring 10,000 square feet. It is the nucleus of the present store. At that time the entrance was on Sixth Avenue Southeast.
Because of the growth of the business, another expansion was contemplated when George (age 62) died in a sailing accident in 1962. Bob’s brother, Ken, left teaching to spend about ten years managing the new department store area. Expansion continued, and by 1971 the store measured about 37,000 square feet. Mrs. Kessler, herself, would continue to be a vital part of the business until she retired two years before her death in 1985 at the age of 82.
Other improvements and expansions have taken place. In 1984, 10,000 square feet were added. During that time, the Department store was relocated and the Drug Store was added. This again helped Kessler’s maintain a reputation for having one stop convenience. In 1987, the whole store was again remodeled and updated in keeping with changing times. This remodeling included new refrigeration equipment and also expanded the service and perishable departments.
We always strive for quality above all else. We recently completed an update to the exterior of the building and added a Caribou Coffee inside. The staff at Kessler’s now numbers 250 full and part-time positions.
Thank you for your loyal support over the years! We wouldn’t be where we are today w