History of the Schuette Family
Schuette Markets have been in operation for 150 years and five generations. The company was started in 1863 by Peter Schuette, a German-born immigrant who settled in St. Rose, Il in the late 1850’s. Lincoln was president when Peter first opened the store as a trading post to help supply the local area needs during the Civil War before opening a general store in St. Rose in 1870.
In 1902, Peter’s two sons, Joseph and Frank took over the business under the name of Schuette Bros. General Store. They more than doubled the building size and in 1913 the East St. Louis Gazette reported that the Schuette Bros General Store in St. Rose “enjoys a large and extensive trade and high standing in the community. Their prices are as low as those of their competitors, quality considered. The trade has the satisfaction of having a good market, and often better, than any town along the railroads”. The store stocked groceries, dry goods, ranges and stoves, sewing machines floor coverings, harnesses, barb wire fencing, hardware, and clothing amongst a wide array of supplies.
Frank’s sons, Francis and Peter, expanded operations in the 1930’s with as many as 14 grocery stores in surrounding towns in addition to a St. Rose dairy, meat processing house and general warehouse. The dairy and meat operations and 11 of the 15 stores closed during World War II due to so many workers serving in the armed forces. These stores had all operated under the name of Califo Markets (which was a supplier of the stores from the West coast). Since then Schuette family store names changed as suppliers have come and gone. Some past Schuette family store names include SSS Markets, Tom Boy, Piggly Wiggly and SuperValu. The stores currently do business as Schuette’s Markets.
Peter’s sons, Mike and Tom, became the fourth generation of Schuette Brothers when they joined the business in the 1970’s. Mike’s daughters, Sarah and Tessa, joined the company in recent years to become the fifth generation of Schuettes in the grocery business. Together with their father, they lead over 100 associates in four modern grocery stores in addition to the original St. Rose location, which is still used today as a local convenience store in addition to the Schuette Stores, Inc. headquarters.
As best anyone can tell, the Schuette family stores are the oldest continuous same family grocery business in the United States. And although much has changed for everyone in the world over the past 150 years, the Schuette family continues to operate “good, often better” local area grocery stores in southern Illinois, still committed to supporting local community needs with fresh quality local goods, at competitive prices, with the friendliest help and “high standing in the community”.