The Little Store

By David R. Schleper

Huss Grocery Store
The Little Store as Huss Grocery Store

Hubert J. Pass (Butz) had two sons, Kenny and Leroy. Hubert built the Little Store on Sixth Avenue and Sommerville Street for his two sons after they came home from World War II. It was built around 1950, according to Pat Pass.

The two sons started the Little Store, but both Kenny and Leroy decided that they did not enjoy working there, and so Butz eventually sold it. Butz sold it to Mr. and Mrs. George Huss, who owned and managed the store as Huss Grocery Store in 1953.

George and Nancy Huss owned Huss Grocery Store until 1960. Stephen Wiggen embarrassingly remembered, “I wanted a squirt gun and Mom said no! I took money from her purse and bought it anyway. Guess I didn’t pilfer enough to pay for it but they sold it to me regardless and then contacted Mom for the remainder. You can guess the rest, it didn’t bear well. I was very young. That is when everybody knew everybody in Shakopee.”

“I lived right next door. I remember the Wonder Bread (truck) coming to visit the store, and them slicing bologna to order,” said Barb Norring.

Mona Carpenter remembered Huss Grocery Store. “My parents went on vacation and put our neighbors in charge of caring for us for a week. They arranged an account at Huss’s so if we really needed anything we could charge it there and they would pay for it when they returned. Every day we went there and filled up on candy on our way home from school. My parents were not happy when they returned and saw their bill!”

According to Barbara Huss DeMers, her father was a post office carrier. But George was also one of the owners of the Little Store. George and Nancy wanted to adopt a baby. The Catholic Charities, at that time, felt that it was too much to have both jobs, both postman and store owner. And so George and Nancy Huss sold the store in order to adopt Barbara!

The Little Store was then bought by Ralph and Pat Mingo Christensen in the 1960s, and renamed Christensen Grocery. The store, which was a favorite for students at St. Mary’s School, which was located across the street, continued until 1977. Anne Schneider Jefferson remembered, “When I was three, we lived in a basement apartment on Sommerville. My mom told me I walked to Christensens’ because I wanted candy. At that age I didn’t understand you had to pay for it!”

“On Saturdays after lunch, we would ask Mom if we could have a nickel for candy. We were all excited when she obliged, and headed up to Christensens’ to spend it. My routine favorites were Bub’s Daddy Bubble Gum, jaw breakers and Sixlets,” said Bill Schleper, “I also loved the ‘Push-ups,’ which are basically orange sherbet packaged in a colored toilet paper roll…but they cost 15 cents, so we had to use some of our own allowance to afford that rare treat!”

Janae Larsen commented, “I remember a few times we would write a ransom note to my mom saying we kidnapped the family dog, and we would release him for a dime a piece. With our dime we would ride our bikes down to Christensens’ and buy Bazooka Bubble Gum.”

Summer days were hot, and children on bikes loved to go to the Little Store for popsicles. And Ron Von Bank and others remembered Pat Christensen’s popsicle splitter! Kathy Jefferson explained, “When you would buy a popsicle (the kind with two sticks), Mr. Christensen had a homemade splitter and would split them, which made it nice for you and a friend to share!”

“After school was best. Grab a gum ball to chew when we played baseball, if I had money.” said Laura Lee Mertz. “It always smelled good in there. They had odd-looking little boxes of laundry soap and those sticky fly catchers and cans of Campbell’s soup.” In fact, Stephen Wiggen remembered buying one of those flycatchers, “thinking they were some kind of fireworks. I was very nervous while paying for them!”

“Loved that store. I remember the Christensens well. There was so much to choose from!” said Michelle Kay. “We used to walk away with little brown bags full of sugary goodness. I also remember going there to get cigarettes for mom!”

Irene TenEyck recalled, “Mom would send us up there to buy the ripest brownest bananas they had for pennies a pound so she could make banana bread, banana pie, banana cookies, banana pudding.” Cal TenEyck, Irene’s sister: “I always felt like a big shot being able to just say ‘charge it’ and walking out.”

Brenda Schleicher Anderson remembered getting money from the mailman. “We gave the mailman drinks of water out of our hose, and he gave us the change in his pockets. We then saved the money and walked to Christensens’ and bought penny candy and then walked back home.”

Marian Breimhorst Nelson said, “The thing that I remember is when my daughter, Rae Ann, was about six I let her walk to the store alone for the first time. We lived on Eighth and Spencer. I walked with her to Sommerville and then stood there to watch her walk the rest of the way there and then home. She was so proud that she could go on her own.”

Pat Rein, like a lot of kids, remembered the trading cards. “My favorite thing to buy was Topps Baseball Cards. Always looking for, or trading for Killebrew, Oliva and my other favorite Twins. I would occasionally have to ride down on my bike to get something for my mom that she needed for dinner.”

Beth Ecker remembered, “My mom would send us there with a note to get her cigarettes. Then we each got to buy 25 cents of penny candy! … Loved having a little brown bag filled with candy.” Beth also remembered the rules that the nuns at St. Mary’s set up, including not having candy in class. “We would all go to the little store and buy Luden’s cherry cough drops because they tasted like candy and they were allowed!!” Mary Jo Moonen King remembered doing the same thing.

Gary and Sally Raasch owned the store after the Christensens and before the Stockers. According to Sally, “We were only there a short time. Was fun to get to know so many kids. St. Mary’s requested that we open after school started because it was making kids late for school. The biggest crowds were on Wednesday evenings before the CCD classes.” The Raasches owned the store, as Raasch’s Grocery, in 1977.

Mary Baden remembered “those round multicolored candies we would play like we were going to communion. I don’t even think they tasted that good! Mary Jo Moonen King knew that they were called Stark’s.

Then the Little Store was owned by the Stockers. Dottie Stocker was often the person who customers would look forward to seeing. “She was always so sweet!” said Tamy Furrer Bachelor. “Dottie, by far, was the happiest person in the world,” said Craig Huckabone.

“I remember going there in the morning before school and buying gum so when we went to the (Shakopee Area Catholic Middle School), I could chew gum in those classes!” noted Kim Tieben.

Laurie Ploof remembered when the store was called Christensens’ and then Stockers’. “I just mainly remember getting the penny candy…and I look back and think about the patience! It was all behind the counter, and I’d pick my 10 pieces one by one. Never felt like I had to hurry up or was a pain. Just felt like a real customer!”

Judy Theis remembered, “We would walk the five blocks to the store when we scraped together five pennies for a popsicle and they would split the two pops so my sister and I could share! Two and a half cent treat on a hot summer day! And we had to brave our way past Bastians’ German shepherd to get there! I’m sure he was a nice dog, but he was as big as we were and scared the heck out of us!”

Finally, after more than 30 years, and the rotten teeth of every child growing up around the place, the store closed, and the Little Store became a house.

It is still there. And every time people drive by, they think of the Little Store, and the fun that everyone still remembers!

Remembering The Little Store

What do you remember about going to this store? What was your favorite candy that you bought?

Jeremy Bjornberg: Easy bike ride and tons of cheap candy. I always thought it stopped with the Stockers’ as I think they still live there or did when I was in high school and it had long been closed.

Annette Gits Wermerskirchen: We lived across from Central School so we were there often. The penny candy was amazing! We loved to go see Pat and Betty Christensen.

David and Laurie Vollbrecht: The box of jaw breakers

Pam Sunder: Lemon heads, blue freezies and riding my bike to the store to get cigarettes for my mother. I had a note from her and it was OK for me to buy them.

Paul Monnens: I had a paper route, so always had some change to spend. I would buy the Little Debbie’s cupcakes and eat all twelve by the time I got home. It was Christensen’s at that time.”

Laurie Schmitt Gregor: We rode our bikes to the library and then on the way home stopped for penny candy. Also went there before religion on Wednesday nights.

Amber Dexter: For sure going after junior high with friends. I always got grape or strawberry Now and Laters.

Kathy Mertz Beyer: Oh my gosh, I remember going there with friends, getting those long rope gums, and sticking the whole thing in our mouths. Also getting cigarettes with forged notes.

Theresa Hoyles: Yup cigarettes, LOL, we were so bad.

Lauri Bittner: We lived on Fourth and Marschall and would ride our bikes there for candy and ice cream. Mom would send us once in a while for milk or something and with the change we’d get candy, too.

Mitch Lebens: Hostess apple pies and baseball cards!!!

Mark Hergott: Would walk there from Central and buy them 1 cent pal bubble gum.

Candy Kragthorpe: Bonomo’s Turkish taffy, banana flips, dreamsicles, Charms suckers.

Stacey Andrew: I would buy $1.00 worth of bubble gum. (It was $.01 apiece) I remember it well. Having all that gum was so much fun.

Bonnie Bruns Plekkenpol: Mr. Freezes (or Freezies as they are called now).

Shelley Lebens Gehrman: Bazooka bubble gum, penny candy and jawbreakers!

Bill Schleper: I also remember buying caps (for our cap-guns or just to smash on the sidewalk with baseball bats) and “Snakes” around the 4th of July. Also Bottle Caps (candy) and those “Dots” on wax paper.

Jill Reinke Sand: Mr. Freezes!

Janel Knutson: In the summer we rode our bikes to get Mr. Freezes, and I often went there before school at Central Elementary to buy RainBlow bubble gum or a Chunky candy bar. Nice memories of the Christensens.

Mitch Wel: Space invaders game and Tom Schleper. Ruling the game.

Diane Henning: Sweet Tarts from my Aunt Dotty.

Jodi Kechely Myers: My parents writing a note for us to be able to pick them up cigarettes

Jane Mertz: Slow pokes. That explains my dental bills, doesn’t it?

Jessica Heitzman Beglinger: I would bring a note to get my dad’s cigarettes and Dotty would give me a bunch of free candy!

Lisa Radermacher Tuma: My Great grandma lived next door, we would always go over there for sno cones. Loved Dottie!!

Karen Schepers: Buying smokes for my friends who were in sports (I was not, and the legal age was 16). LOL

Becky Nelson: Candy necklaces when we visited the Lill family!

Theresa Hart-Link: Biking there on the way to junior high school for a healthy breakfast of…Doritos.

Doreen Ince Tomlinson: Any candy was great. Went there after CCD classes. Say hi to friends, always a fun time.

Dan Meyer: Going there to get candy before going to school at Central Elementary and after school to play video games!! Dottie was the best, always so happy!!

Pete Peterson: Bought my cigarettes there when I was 15.

Molly Born Bruckner: Buying penny candy from Dottie before school at St. Mary’s.

Jim Dellwo: I remember going to get smokes for my mom with a note. And the Bub’s Daddy gum

Jan Erickson Jirik: Going to Christensen’s on bikes during the summer with our own money to spend. Buying penny candy – bringing it home and keeping it safe from siblings! It kind of was the place to go and meet up.

Elizabeth Wolf Styba: Tart n’ Tinys!!

Patty Czaja Jilek: On cold winter days, as a St Mary’s student, we would warm up in the front entrance before school started. Not sure why they didn’t let us inside back then (early ‘80s). Dottie was great too!

Colleen Pavek: When the Christensens owned the store it was like walking into my home as they had lived across the street from us. The store was on my way to school so I stopped in often to purchase myself treats. My mom sent me over on my bike to buy some grocery items. They had a little of everything.

Tim Rystrom: Bubs Daddy and Push-ups, Christensen era.

Betsy Brown Theis: Turkish Taffy was my favorite!

Allison Brown Skluzacek: Stockers’ for small boxes of jaw breakers 🙂

Jennifer Hanson Doble: Every time I drive by that corner, I think about going to Stockers’ before “CCD”

Daryl Hesch: Loved that store. Always got a Heath bar.

Mary Larson: My friend Debbie and I would go to Christensens’ after school for Hostess Banana Flips or Apple Pie. Penny candy if we were broke! That’s how we spent our babysitting money.

Robin Lambrecht: Sixlets!! Love those little chocolate treats! Stockers store was great

Joe Butch Karst: Used to stop on the way home from St. Mark’s, up hill both ways. I remember the little pies.

Rae Ann Lebens Konkol: Bit -O- Honey, Charm suckers and penny candy.

Mark Severson: Chum gum.

Cory Olson: Did electrical work there after it was converted back to a house. Used to go to Stockers’ when I was a kid

Joy Dressen-Newgard: I remember walking to Central Elementary School with Brenda Schleper… on the way to school we would stop and get “Carleston Chew” candy…

Beth Berens Rozga: I would save my babysitting money and buy Pillsbury rolls from the store to make for my family. One day I went early Sunday. The house across the street was on fire, and as the fire department pulled up I saw my brother, a volunteer firefighter run into the house. About ten minutes later I saw him jump out the second story window on fire. I ran home as fast as I could to tell my mom and dad!

Linda Bittner: Push Ups (frozen orange sherbet on a stick).

Mark Meuwissen: Mr. Freeze. 5 cents

Olivia Puckett: Candy bricks and orange drink.

Chris Lebens: I remember finding out that Reagan had been shot from Mrs. Stocker, after school, at her store. Other than that, the video games in back!!!

Brian Kirchmeier: Buying my football cards with the tasty 20 seconds gum for $.25 per pack and yes, Chris Lebens definitely the video games.

Nichole Miller Hetletvedt: When it was Stockers’, my mom used to write a note that is was ok for me to buy her cigarettes!!

Russ Berg: I would get a Banana Flip, or Tootsie Pop and hopefully it had an Indian on the wrapper, but before school at Central I’d buy Hubba Bubba bubble gum and sell pieces of gum at school for 5 cents apiece.

Dawn Plonski: Well when I first moved here in 1973 my dad would send me there to buy cigarettes for him and give me extra money. Then later I went with my friends Dawn Anderson (Vierling) and Darcy Anderson and Kelly Dueffert. We would buy Doritos and fudgesicles. I loved that store.

Kathy Jefferson: Heck we use to buy them for ourselves at a young age. 29 cents a pack. And gas was also 29 cents a gallon.

Sherry Reynolds: I bought a lot of penny candy when Christensens owned the store but my favorite memory is my dad sending me there to buy cigarettes and beer (Kingsbury Beer – six pack…). How small town is that?

David Schleper: I love how much people remember about that store! Every time I look at the house (which used to be the store) I would think of that place! Three blocks from our house! The house is now beautiful, and right across the street is the Henderson, the place for senior citizens to live. But I always think of St. Mary’s, and the Little Store!

Susan Marsh: Great question!!! So many memories. Besides buying those silly dots on paper and being sent to the store for Mom to get her cigarettes (and I’d get Cracker Jacks in exchange), when we were in grade school, I remember being sent to the store during school to buy ice cream for our class. OMG. Can you imagine that today???

Rena Lehman: Mr. Freezes, and how Mr. C. would always cut the top open for us with his pocket knife. Great memories.

Jason Carpenter: I also went there with a note to buy cigs for older relatives, when I was about eight years old.

Lou Ann Oxenrider: Mine was Turkish taffy. Banana and chocolate. God they don’t make penny candy any more either.

Mark Sebald: Mr. Freeze was a favorite! Also remember my mom sending me up there at 10 years old to pick up packs of cigarettes for her and my dad.

Beryl Dellwo: Roger says two story concrete block lower story. Across from St Mary’s playground. As you walked in the door the counter was right in front. You could go left or right. Also sold groceries, bread, canned goods, etc.

Karen Lee: Buying dots candy I can’t remember the name of it but it was little colored dots on paper.

Julie Lindsay Schlueter: I remember everyone going there before religion class at St. Mary’s and stocking up on candy. Lemon drops were my favorite!

Kristen Maria Kusienski: I went to school at Central and it was the biggest treat to run over to Stockers’ and buy something. Of course the penny candy was a huge hit and I remember the Push-ups too! Good memories!

Ronda Darby Dessin: I remember my parents giving my brother and I each $.25 and we would ride our bikes there to pick out penny candy!

Mark Sebald: I also remember Mrs. Christensen tell me “when you come in the store and nobody’s here, just come up the steps inside and give us a yell!” (They lived upstairs!)

Mary Fleming: Tootsie roll suckers!!

Becky Rein Cartwright: Push-ups

Khristine Norton: I woke up this morning – remembering a gum ball machine at Christensens’ – that had little finger tips with red nails that you stuck on the ends of your finger. I got one or two every time I went there until I had a full set! Best penny a finger manicure ever!

Mona Carpenter: I would sometimes spend my whole weekly allowance (25 cents) at Huss’ on strawberry licorice and sometimes Rock Spring Strawberry pop.

Gerard Geis: Bazooka bubblegum was my fave. Loved watching Mike Brown, Tom Schleper, and Tom Boys setting all the high scores in the pinball machine

Gregory Walgreen: I often bought a big wad of Bazooka gum at Stockers’ before my Little League baseball games at the fields at Sweeney Elementary.

Linda Bittner: Star Wars Cards with the stick of gum in them.

Rick Anderson: I went there and spent $1 on pal 1 cent gum and gave it away at Central Elementary almost every day.

Karen Tschimperle: I can remember Dottie Stocker being mad at me for turning her onto Fritos and bean dip (which my sister Noel Reinke had turned me onto). The next time I went in there she said she had such bad heartburn after eating the whole bag and can of dip. LOL!

Werner Gamauf: I use to go there in the morning before school. And get candy. And a pop. I would sneak over there doing lunch and get me a pop. And stop on the way home. Also they let cash my paper route paycheck. This store was a hot spot for kids and adults.

Kindra Michelle: When I was kindergarten age, My mother gave me money to go buy her cigarettes. Any left over money, I could get penny candy. We also were not allowed to go to the store at recess but one brave kid would collect money and sneak over to buy it for us.

Pat Huss Sheveland: Pat Christensen was my mom’s cousin and he made me always feel special because I was his “cousin.” I have so many favorites but first thing that popped into my head was the Push Up sherbet thing and the blue freezie thing!

Christopher Reynolds: Sherbet Push Ups were the best

Chris Lebens: We always had our fights in the front of the store!

Doug Mohrbacher: Bubble Yum and then selling it at school I used to help put when the Stockers owned it

Jen Jonckowski Eich: We’d go to Stockers’ for Razzles before CCD class.

Kelly Ploumen: Charms suckers. Dottie let us charge stuff…

Annie Koski: Loved that store. Stockers’. I bought bubble gum mostly. Charms suckers were and are the best.

Mary Breeggemann: Yes I ran from school a lot to buy a snack, cupcakes…Awesome and close.

Lori Lyzenga: I remember the store when it was owned by Stockers. I used to take swimming lessons at the pool on the south side of Shakopee. Morning swim lessons and afternoon and after dinner swimming means I made the trek 3 times a day. Stocker grocery is where I stopped to get an over or cold drink. Great memories!

Katie Honetschlager: Get Tab pop and going to the pool with my mom!

Barb Norring: I lived right next door. I remember the Wonder Bread (truck) coming to visit the store, and them slicing bologna to order. My dad brought in all the Old Dutch potato chips for the store, as well as the carnival caramel apples, and Brach’s candy. Good memories!!

Debbie Mather: Dick remembers a man from Duncan Yo-Yos would come out every summer and show the kids how to do tricks with their yo-yos.

Bill Schleper: On Saturdays after lunch, we would ask Mom if we could have a nickel for candy. We were all excited when she obliged, and headed up to Christensens’ to spend it. My routine favorites were Bub’s Daddy Bubble Gum, jaw breakers, and Sixlets. However, around Halloween, they would have wax horns and wax lips, which were the best! I also loved the “Push-ups,” which are basically orange sherbet packaged in a colored toilet paper roll…but they cost 15 cents, so we had to use some of our own allowance to afford that rare treat!” Bill also remembered “…splurging on buying cans of the ready-made, easy-spread frosting in a can. I would take it home and eat it with a spoon.

Patric Stillman: I remember being having to walk block after block to get to the store and purchase a handful of little dusty candy cigarettes, the hard-as-rock strip of gum, the waxy soda bottles filled with some unknowable syrup, paper strips with pastel dots you could eat and red chewy coins. Summer never tasted sooo good.

Mary Jo Moonen King: Lik-M-Aid, candy cigs, wax lips, nut goodies, popsicles, candy necklaces. Always a first stop after leaving the heavy double doors of St. Mary’s School playground doors!! School’s out!!! RUN!

What are your memories of The Little Store? Email them to us and we’ll add them to this post.

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