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52 Tuesdays: Coralue Anderson

“When I was two-or-three years, old Dad (Henry Kneisel Anderson) would come pick me up and I’d ride around with him in his red panel-truck and stand on the seat while he delivered groceries, at noon and 4:00,” says Coralue Anderson, who owns Kneisel & Anderson, with her brother and sister. “I’m proud and pleased to be a part of a fourth-generation family-owned business. I feel like it was important to maintain the integrity of what was created with this store.” After nearly 150 years in operation, Kneisel & Anderson, a Georgetown, Colo., landmark, faces an uncertain future.

Kneisel & Anderson is the oldest continuously-operated business in Georgetown. Coralue’s great-grandfather, Henry Kneisel, a baker who came from Germany in the 1870’s, worked at and eventually bought the town’s grocery store, in 1883. It was located in a wooden structure across the street from the current store. He operated the business for some ten years, then built the current brick building, in 1892. He eventually partnered with employee Emil Anderson from Sweden, who later became his son-in-law. The store passed down to Coralue’s father, Henry Kneisel Anderson, then to his children, Coralue, Wendy Britta Anderson and Smoky Anderson.

Photo of Coralue And Wendy Britta Anderson in their 1892 family store Kneisel & Anderson

In 1912, the store next door was acquired by the Kneisel & Anderson family and was turned into a hardware store that still serves the locals.

The hardware store is packed with all of the original fixtures, cabinets, and wallpaper “We used to cut glass in back,” Coralue says. She points out a rotating nail bin that holds several hundred pounds of nails. The huckleberry hand rake is a handy device to harvest huckleberries. And there is the combination coffee grinder and meat grinder, maybe not so clever.

The grocery store has become a specialty store, stocked with Colorado, German and Swedish-made products. They include jams, salsas, sweets and of course, the staples for a last-minute picnic. There is also a variety of cheeses, including one known to locals simply as “Henry’s cheese.” Fluent in Swedish, sister Wendy Anderson is in charge of international ordering of products and goods, as well as the store’s bookkeeping. Brother Smoky helps out as well.

After leaving Georgetown to live in California and Oregon, Coralue moved back home in 1968. She says, “We and another store used to service the town, because there was no other place to go, other than the small Safeway in Idaho Springs. People pretty much did all of their buying with our store and the one down the street. Our business has changed. We no longer deliver milk in the morning and groceries in the afternoon, unless someone is having a difficult time and needs the help.

Kneisel & Anderson does not make much of a profit, not the way it did when Coralue, Wendy and Smoky’s father was alive. The store may not continue if the three decide to close it. “My heart has always been here in the store,” says Coralue. “It’s going to kill my soul when it’s no longer here, it really will.”

Kneisel & Anderson 511 6th Street, Georgetown, CO P: 303-569-2650


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