John H. Heinen, Proprietor, was born in Shakopee June 12, 1873. His parents emigrated from Holland and he was one of the younger members of a family of eleven children. He was educated in the Shakopee schools and as a young adult went to St. Paul to learn the grocery business. For 14 years he remained in St. Paul and then went to North Dakota. He came back to Shakopee in 1914 and entered the confectionery and grocery business located at 119 East First Avenue.
On June 15, 1915 he married Anna Angelsburg in New Ulm and brought her to live in the apartment above the store. There their two daughters Janet (Strunk) and Marion (Caron) were born.
In 1920 he purchased the building at 120 Holmes Street changing the name to Heinen Confectionery. The family again lived in the upstairs apartment. Mr. and Mrs. Heinen worked in the store and Susan Hentges joined the staff in 1928 and became almost a member of the family. The daughters also joined in working as they grew older.
The store was open 7 days a week 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and sold items such as tobacco products – all kinds of candy in bulk quantities, as few things came packaged (penny candy) – the soda fountain and all the ice cream cones you could imagine – besides what was packed in quart containers for home consumption. The store’s front window was always a huge display of fresh fruit – according to seasons and always a big banana bunch which hung from the ceiling and from which was sliced off bunches with the “banana knife”. They had a line of which was referred to as “light groceries” and did not handle meats until into the 30’s when a cooler was purchased to display mostly luncheon items. There were magazines, stationery, school supplies which in the fall drew myriads of off-to-school kids who spent “like forever” picking out THE tablet with the greatest picture on it. They had greeting cards – Heinen’s was the first Hallmark distributor in Shakopee. Also gifts – dolls, figurines and such. In the early 20’s you could buy things seasonally such as – the store would be turned into Santa’s toy store. Shelves would be built across the back and those shelves and all the ice cream tables would be stocked with every toy a child could want. The seasons would rule throughout the year. At Easter time and on Mother’s Day they would bring car loads of blooming plants from Bachmans – and later from Marshall Greenhouse. Then came the 4th of July and there would be every kind of fireworks available. Halloween – treats for the kids.
John died in 1940 and his wife, Anna, operated the store until she sold the business in 1944. She still owned the building. In 1950 the business returned to the family when the older daughter bought it. Later she turned it into “Jan’s Card Shop” and operated it until 1963. It had been home to them for over 40 years.
A quote from The Shakopee Story:
“Undoubtedly many romances blossomed into fruition, and the way of many young loves smoothed by his soda fountain delights and hot chocolate with vanilla cookies.”
(Information for article supplied by Janet Strunk, a daughter of John Heinen)
Photos donation Harriet Pink.