Steketee's Department Store
Paul G. Steketee immigrated from the Netherlands to Zeeland, Mi at the age of 14 with his father.
"The history of the Steketee organization parallels the history of Grand Rapids and Western Michigan. As the community grew, so this store has grown. For as the community increased in population and purchasing power, and consequently demanded larger and better selections of merchandise, the store responded with larger and better selections, enlarging its facilities from time to time to make room. The present arrangements are the result of constant effort on the part of the management to find out what best pleases the public and to give he public what it desires. The arrangement has been mutually beneficial to public and store".
J. H. Doornink established a store at Division and and Monroe. In 1862 he offered a partnership to Paul G. Steketee and the firm became Doornink and Steketee's.
In 1864 a store was opened in Holland and Paul's brother George was taken in as a third partner.
Then the Grand Rapids store moved to
Mr Doornink retired and sold his interest in 1872. Mr. Steketee added his sons John P and Peter P in 1878 becoming Paul Steketee and Sons. Son Don and son-in-law C. Dosker were also involved in the business. They soon built a new building on Fountain Street between Ionia and Ottawa Avenues. The Monroe side was retail while the rest of the building and upper floors was wholesale.
Paul Steketee sold the Grand Rapids store to Kellogg & Bunn concentrating on the Holland Store. . Then in 1878, after a four- year absence, Paul Steketee re-entered Grand Rapids with a new store, mostly wholesale, at 100 Monroe Ave (is this the pre-1912 address?) where Central Bank is now (1937) located. (c.1953 SW corner Ionia and Monroe),
By 1885, larger quarters were needed so he purchased a small frontage on Monroe and a larger connecting one on Fountain street between Ionia and Ottawa (This sounds like they just bought back their former building from Kellogg & Bunn), where a part of the present store is located. On these two lots, he constructed connecting buildings, a small one on Monroe for the retail trade and a larger three-story on on Fountain for the wholesale see Bldg # 3 below.
The revised map
I have indicated with a W their wholesale building
which still stands and
By 1899, when Paul Steketee died, the concern purchased two
adjacent small stores fronting on Monroe
In 1906, a modern four-story bldg which still stands was constructed at the corner
of Fountain and Ionia, hereinafter called the Ionia Avenue building which became
the wholesale operation.
In 1912 Paul J Steketee lived at 31 College Ave NE now across from Central Reform Church
Then in 1916 the 1899 store was replaced.
In 1920 two additional stores on Monroe were purchased and remodeled into the Men's Store. In 1940, a new addition to the 1916 building replaced these stores. See Bldg #1 below.
In 1940The original
replaced by a new 40-foot-front building
There was no photo of this building in the assessor's file for Steketees. A little bit is shown in the assessor's photo of Bldg #3.