space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* Country Cousin
space
space
Sports Shorts
* Village Of Egg Harbor Seeks Grant For Land Acquisition
* Hunters Reminded It's Illegal To Shoot Trumpeter Swans
* Deer Hunters Reminded to Watch Out for Elk and Moose
* Cougars/Marines End Season With Victories
* Rhinelander Captures D2 Swim & Dive Title

space
Peshtigo Fire
space
e-Edition
Now Available
For more information
click here
dot
THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
space
dot
space
070115frontwitts

Witt Family Marks 100 Years Of Grocery Business In Crivitz

Issue Date: July 1, 2015

It was 100 years ago this year that Patsy Witt and his bride, Lillian Repinski, purchased the Paust/Gould General Store in Crivitz and founded the W. A. Witt and Sons family business that has evolved into what today is Witt’s Piggly Wiggly, Ace Hardware and Crivitz Subway Shop.

Today the business is owned and operated by Patsy’s grandsons, Jack and Nick Witt, with their wives Loretta and Sally. Much like the original business, it offers a full line of groceries and other supplies, including paints, lawn equipment, fishing and hunting gear, some clothing, and hardware. As Jack puts it, The store today has come full circle, back to its beginnings as a general store.

The fourth generation family members getting started in the business are two of Nick and Sally’s offspring, Garrett Witt and Rebecca Zillges. Daughter Kari Kosir is so far not involved, nor are Jack and Loretta’s daughters Stacie, Marni and Nicole, who are all married and following medical careers in the Green Bay area.

The Witts have invited the entire community to join in their Centennial Celebration by providing the biggest fireworks display ever in the the community to be shown after dusk on Saturday, July 4 at Legion Park in Crivitz.

They also have purchased naming rights along with Pat Witt of Witt Auto to the community’s newest softball field to commemorate the the man who founded the family business. Dedication ceremonies for the Patsy Witt Field at 2 p.m. on July 4 will immediately be followed by by an alumni game pitting graduates of Crivitz High School Wolverines against their arch rival Wausaukee Rangers.

The story of the Witt family in America began in 1885, when Peter Witt and his family immigrated from a part of Poland that at the time was governed by Emperor Willhelm II as part of imperial Germany.

According to citizenship papers filed in Oconto County in 1906, Patsy Witt was born in Germany in 1883, with the actual given name of Wenceslaus Alphonse Witt. Marinette and Oconto counties were one in those days. The papers are still among the Witt family’s prized possessions.

Patsy (Wenceslaus) Witt was two years old when his family settled in Milwaukee after immigrating to America, and 12 years old in 1895 when they moved to what is now Marinette County and Peter opened a meat market in Beaver.

In 1911 Patsy graduated from Pio Noma College of Milwaukee, and got a job clerking at the Paust/Gould General Store in Crivitz. That store was located on property that now is part of the site of New Care Health Center.

In 1914 Patsy married the former Lillian Repinski. A year later the young couple purchased the store where Patsy was employed and converted it into a meat market. That was the beginning of the W. A. Witt and Sons grocery business which has evolved into Witt’s Piggly Wiggly and Ace Hardware. Today, 100 years later, it is operated by the third and fourth generation of Witt family members.

The and Sons portion of their business name proved prophetic. Eventually Patsy and Lillian’s family included six sons and one daughter - Alphonse, Ralph, Miron, Junior (Clarence) June, Gerald and Ernie.

Working side by side, Patsy and Lillian built up their family business. They remodeled an area behind the store into an apartment where they raised their seven children.

Over the years they expanded their meat market into groceries, paint, clothing, farm implements and ice and coal delivery. It was a family venture, and everyone helped.

Ice was harvested annually from Left Foot Lake and kept a sawdust insulated storage shed until the next winter.

Patsy served as a member of Crivitz School Board, was village clerk, and a trustee and director of music for St. Mary Catholic Church. Grandson Jack says proudly that his grandfather played the organ and sang at Mass every day of his life. He sang loudly but not well, Jack adds with a chuckle.

Patsy also was a shareholder in the State Bank of Crivitz which folded in 1925. B. P. Gould was president.

Ernie, the youngest son, joined his father in the grocery business when he returned home in 1948 after his military service in world War II. With Patsy’s help, Ernie and his wife June built a house several blocks from the store, following a floor plan printed in the Crivitz Gazette newspaper on May 15, 1948. Ernie and June raised their children Jack, Jill, Nick, Christine and James there until 1975, when they moved to the farm owned by Lillian’s parents, the Joseph Repinskis, on the south shore of Left Foot Lake. Jack and his family live there today.

The store continued to grow and prosper. Shortly before his death in 1952 Patsy bought an IGA franchise, and thus brought the first nationally syndicated grocery store to Crivitz. Also in the 1950s, before family home freezers became common, the family added a frozen food locker plant where families could rent locker space for frozen food storage.

Ernie and June purchased the store in 1952 after his father’s passing. Lillian continued working in the store until she died in 1977 at age 85.

Ernie and June continued to expand the business and turned the focus from general store to a modern self service grocery, bringing the first self-serve meat department and frozen foods section to the community in 1958.

In the early days, there were charge accounts and area farmers frequently paid their grocery bills in eggs. Jack said after they closed the store on Sunday afternoons the family would take rides to sell the surplus eggs. He said sometimes his mother would take the back seat out of the car and head to Milwaukee with eggs, but he mainly recalls rides to the Upper Peninsula with eggs.

Nick recalls helping bring eggs and groceries to Camp Bird, Buck’s Ranch, Camp Norwid, the Polish Youth Camp. He said they were especially happy if deliveries to Camp Bird were scheduled for Saturday afternoons when campers from the current week had left. Then he and his siblings, and later he and his children, could enjoy the beach and playground facilities at Camp Bird.

During the early 1960s the store in Crivitz was enlarged and remodeled several times. In 1965, Ernie founded Witt’s Frozen Foods, which made Witt’s Frozen Pizzas and distributed them through three states.

In 1969 Ernie and June purchased another grocery store in Coleman, which was managed for more than 35 years by their oldest son Jack and his wife, Loretta. Over the years that store, which had been the Red Owl Store, expanded from 3,200 to 24,000 square feet. That store was eventually sold and is now Pelkins Piggly Wiggly in Coleman.

Despite their busy business lives, Ernie and June found time for civic involvement. He was founder and first president of Crivitz Business Association and was twice named citizen of the year. He was also a charter member of Crivitz Lions club and he and John Shaffer received an international Lions award.

He also was president and one of the founders of Crivitz Community Corporation, Inc. which helped bring Huntercraft and the Ski Factory to Crivitz. Eventually shares were sold to the Village of Crivitz and the money was put into development of Dyer Business Park. Ernie also was a member of the American Legion, Knights of Columbus, DAV and the Crivitz Fire Department, and served on the board of directors and was the local chairman for the Bishop’s Charity Relief fund.

In 1971 Ernie, with his brother Gerald, opened a store in Gillett. They operated the store there until it was sold in 1975 to Gerald and his son.

In 1958 Ernie and Gerald bought a store in Oconto Falls. In 1982 Ernie sold his interest in Oconto Falls to Gerald and his son.

Times and the generations move on.

In 1979, Ernie and June’s son Nick, with his wife Sally, joined the business and Nick became manager of Witt’s IGA in Crivitz.

In 1982 the Witt family stores in Crivitz and Coleman joined the Piggly Wiggly franchise, and the Crivitz store completed a large scale remodeling project. With a further expansion in 1986 Nick brought the first in-store bakery and deli to the Crivitz area and increased the store from 9,000 to 13,000 square feet.

Just four years later, in 1990, Jack and Nick, along with wives Loretta and Sally, bought the business from June and Ernie and built a 26,000-square foot store at its present location on Hwy. 141.

In 1999 a Subway franchise was added and the store was expanded by another 14,000 square feet, bringing the total to 40,000 square feet. In 2001 an unmanned self-service fuel station was added.

In 2002 Witt’s Piggly wiggly in Coleman was sold to focus on the Crivitz operation.

The next major expansion was in 2006, when a 26,000 square foot addition brought the store to 66,000 square feet and provided space for the new Ace Hardware operation.

This family business during its 100 years has come full circle, Jack Witt commented. When Patsy and Lillian started they took over a full general store with meats, groceries, work clothes, work shoes, farm implements, ice, paint, and more. They narrowed it down to meats. Gradually goods and services were added back. Now, with all the additions in the last two decades, we again provide a full service store.

Jack said there are no plans for more major expansions in the immediate future, But we’re always looking to provide services that aren’t available anywhere else in the Crivitz area. He said their plans right now do include an extensive remodeling project in their bakery/deli area that will cause a bit of disruption later this year.

In the Witt collection are copies of old newspaper ads, including some in a long-gone publication, the Crivitz Gazette. As recently as 1982, ox tails were advertised for 19 cents a pound, and hamburger was 59 cents a pound.

In 1967 - the same year they advertised the coming of a self service produce section - Witt’s in Crivitz and Mel’s IGA in Peshtigo were advertising 50 pounds of Big Jo flour for $3.69, white bread at four loaves for 89 cents, 49 cents for 6 jars of baby food, green beans at 10 cents a can, and sugar at 89 cents for 10 pounds.

Even earlier, in 1942, chuck roast was 21 cents a pound, sirloin 37 cents, veal roast 21 cents, and Rose Red Flour, 49 pounds for $1.79. And those that was a war year.

On the other hand, the property tax bill for 1927 was $35.

It’s been a great 100 years, Jack stated and thanked the community for all the support.


Recent stories, opinions and photos

Issue Date Department Headline
11-25-2020Front Page
Mayor Cathi Malke Back To Work At Peshtigo City Hall

11-25-2020Front Page
Delay City Council Sewer Rate Hearing Until Thursday, Dec. 17

11-25-2020Front Page
Elderly Services Faces Growing Need For Home Delivered Meals

11-25-2020Front Page
Tyco Moving To Permanent Solution To PFAS Issues

11-25-2020Front Page
Crivitz School Board Grapples With Covid-19 School Rules

11-25-2020Community - Coleman
Pound Adopts Village Budget

11-25-2020Community - Coleman
Lena Votes To Continue Mandatory Mask Rules

11-25-2020Community - Crivitz
Grace Lutheran Church Life Nativity Nov. 28

11-25-2020Community - Wausaukee
Athelstane Adopts Budget, Adds To Building Ordinance

11-25-2020Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Blood Drive is Nov. 30th

11-25-2020Obituaries
Betty Birr

11-25-2020Obituaries
Michael Block

11-25-2020Obituaries
Richard J. Callies

11-25-2020Obituaries
David A. Duda

11-25-2020Obituaries
Beverly R. Enderby

11-25-2020Obituaries
Linda T. Finger

11-25-2020Obituaries
Carl Fleischfresser

11-25-2020Obituaries
Gerald R. Francour

11-25-2020Obituaries
Albert V. Gerber

11-25-2020Obituaries
Sally A. Grinsteiner

11-25-2020Obituaries
Carol Hartman

11-25-2020Obituaries
June Jacques

11-25-2020Obituaries
John R. Johnson

11-25-2020Obituaries
Leo T. Kaufman

11-25-2020Obituaries
Stefania Kupczynski

11-25-2020Obituaries
Chad LaPointe

11-25-2020Obituaries
Deborah Larsen

11-25-2020Obituaries
Robert Lom

11-25-2020Obituaries
Adeline R. Miller

11-25-2020Obituaries
Richard L. Olson

11-25-2020Obituaries
Cameron M. Rud

11-25-2020Obituaries
Barbara R. Schultz

11-25-2020Obituaries
Audrey A. Stevens

11-25-2020Obituaries
Christian R. Walker

11-25-2020Obituaries
Darryl G. Woodworth

11-25-2020Perspectives
Country Cousin

11-25-2020Perspectives
From My Window

11-25-2020Perspectives
From our readers

11-25-2020Sports
Village Of Egg Harbor Seeks Grant For Land Acquisition

11-25-2020Sports
Hunters Reminded It's Illegal To Shoot Trumpeter Swans

11-25-2020Sports
Deer Hunters Reminded to Watch Out for Elk and Moose

11-25-2020Sports
Cougars/Marines End Season With Victories

11-18-2020Front Page
Cemetery Board Hears Road, Mower Issues

11-18-2020Front Page
Marinette "Right Size" School Project Is Now Moving Forward

11-18-2020Front Page
Peshtigo School District To Seek Bussing Bids

11-18-2020Front Page
Wausaukee Names Engelmann As Town Rep At Rescue Squad Meets

11-18-2020Community - Coleman
Coleman to Honor Armed Forces Alumni

11-18-2020Community - Coleman
Equity Bar Salutes Veterans, Announces Deer Hunting Menu

11-18-2020Community - Coleman
Senior Citizen Holiday Meal at Coleman Dec. 16

11-18-2020Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Observes Veterans Day

11-18-2020Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Village Board Okay 2021 Budget

11-18-2020Community - Crivitz
Northwoods Church 5th Thanksgiving Dinner Nov. 26

11-18-2020Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee High/Middle Schools List 1st Quarter Honor Rolls

11-18-2020Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Blood Drive is Nov. 30th

11-18-2020Community - Wausaukee
Bakeless Cookie Walk at Wausaukee Librlary

11-18-2020Obituaries
Phillip Armstrong

11-18-2020Obituaries
Clarence Bach

11-18-2020Obituaries
Donna J. Bayerl

11-18-2020Obituaries
Robert C. Beauchamp

11-18-2020Obituaries
Ronald L. Behnke

11-18-2020Obituaries
Dale C. Berg

11-18-2020Obituaries
Martha A. DeCleene

11-18-2020Obituaries
Beatrice E. Dietrich

11-18-2020Obituaries
Edward A. Dyer

11-18-2020Obituaries
Helen Dzurick

11-18-2020Obituaries
Barbara J. Erickson

11-18-2020Obituaries
Richard A. Faucett

11-18-2020Obituaries
Mark P. Harris

11-18-2020Obituaries
Roselyn Hatton

11-18-2020Obituaries
Judith J. Heckel

11-18-2020Obituaries
Norman G. Hipke

11-18-2020Obituaries
David V. Johnson

11-18-2020Obituaries
Colleen J. Kesting

11-18-2020Obituaries
Verna M. LaBombard

11-18-2020Obituaries
Arlene LaCasse

11-18-2020Obituaries
Daniel S. Lorenz

11-18-2020Obituaries
Lori J. Madsen

11-18-2020Obituaries
James L. Martin

11-18-2020Obituaries
Paul F. Martin

11-18-2020Obituaries
Lauretta M. Mayer

11-18-2020Obituaries
Evelyn C. Miron

11-18-2020Obituaries
Marcella M. Mitchell

11-18-2020Obituaries
Jeanne C. Mushynski

11-18-2020Obituaries
Paul Albert Neja, Jr.

11-18-2020Obituaries
James Pierquet

11-18-2020Obituaries
Herman A. Renschin

11-18-2020Obituaries
Paul A. Rosenquist

11-18-2020Obituaries
Earl K. Schmolinske

11-18-2020Obituaries
Pamela A. Seeger

11-18-2020Obituaries
Ruth K. Upton,

11-18-2020Perspectives
Country Cousin

11-18-2020Perspectives
From My Window

11-18-2020Perspectives
From our readers

11-18-2020Sports
Rhinelander Captures D2 Swim & Dive Title

11-18-2020Sports
Carriveau Leads Marine/Bulldog Swimmers at WIAA State Meet

11-18-2020Sports
Lena/STAA Wins Rubber Match With Wausaukee

11-11-2020Front Page
Now In

11-11-2020Front Page
Peshtigo Plans To Hike City Sewer Rates Jan. 1

11-11-2020Front Page
Water Sewer Committee Waiting For BPM Reply

11-11-2020Front Page
County Resource Center Nearly Ready For Use

11-11-2020Community - Coleman
ŕ in 10" Chance Raffle is Nov. 14th

11-11-2020Community - Coleman
Hillside North Offers Drive Through Thanksgiving Dinner

11-11-2020Community - Coleman
Kennedy Marquardt is Lena Lions November Student of the Month

11-11-2020Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Village Board To Hold Budget Hearing On Nov. 17

11-11-2020Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Junior High Lists 1st Quarter Honor Rolls

11-11-2020Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Blood Drive is Nov. 30th

11-11-2020Community - Wausaukee
SC Fire & Rescue Auxiliary Cancel Meetings Until Year End

11-11-2020Community - Wausaukee
Hunter's Bake Sale On Nov. 20th

11-11-2020Obituaries
Julie A. Andersen

11-11-2020Obituaries
David F. Bednarz

11-11-2020Obituaries
Charles A. Butzow

11-11-2020Obituaries
Vera L. Caebe

11-11-2020Obituaries
James G. Enderby

11-11-2020Obituaries
Roger D. Hass

11-11-2020Obituaries
Delores Esther Wolf Heise

11-11-2020Obituaries
Barbara Jean Hoffman

11-11-2020Obituaries
Christine B. Johnson

11-11-2020Obituaries
Douglas F. Johnston

11-11-2020Obituaries
Diane F. Kalkofen

11-11-2020Obituaries
Irma M. Konopka

11-11-2020Obituaries
Lois Lauerman

11-11-2020Obituaries
Louise B. Pelnar

11-11-2020Obituaries
Anna M. Mattson

11-11-2020Obituaries
Alice M. McDonald

11-11-2020Obituaries
Kenneth Mechalson

11-11-2020Obituaries
Georgia M. Nagel

11-11-2020Obituaries
Adam J. Slaby

11-11-2020Obituaries
Vern "Grinder" Vertz

11-11-2020Obituaries
Audrey J. Woodworth

11-11-2020Perspectives
Country Cousin

11-11-2020Perspectives
From My Window

11-11-2020Sports
Menominee Falls In Distrcit Opener

11-11-2020Sports
Carriveau and Company Move Onto State Meet

11-11-2020Sports
WIAA Girls Swimming"& Diving Championships This Weekend

11-11-2020Sports
Coleman/Peshtigo/Lena-STAA Cap Regular Season With Wins

11-05-2020Front Page
USS Marinette Launched Into Menominee River

11-05-2020Front Page
Nygren, Gallagher Returned To Office, Presidential Race Too Close To Call

11-05-2020Front Page
Officers On Leave While State Investigates Goodman Shooting

11-05-2020Front Page
Three Area Hunters Rescued After Canoe/Kayak Overturns

11-05-2020Community - Coleman
ŕ in 10" Chance Raffle is Nov. 14th

11-05-2020Community - Coleman
Coleman Family In Need This Christmas

11-05-2020Community - Coleman
Coleman Water and Sewer Utility To Consider Water Rate Increase

11-05-2020Community - Coleman
Lena School Board Meets Next Nov. 16

11-05-2020Community - Crivitz
Northwoods Church 5th Thanksgiving Dinner Nov. 26

11-05-2020Community - Wausaukee
Christmas in the Park at Evergreen Campground

11-05-2020Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Blood Drive is Nov. 30th

11-05-2020Community - Wausaukee
BDP School Tax Rate Is Lowest Since 2014

11-05-2020Community - Wausaukee
Johnson Controls Donates to Wausaukee Schools

11-05-2020Obituaries
Joyce E. Anderson

11-05-2020Obituaries
Donna M. Becker


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
Do you think the way we vote should be changed to in person voting only?
space Yes
No
Undecided
space
TO VOTE CLICK
YES, NO or UNDECIDED

Suggest a Question
space .
space
FRONT
space
.
space
CLASSIFIEDS
space
.
space
COMMUNITY
space
.
space
GUEST BOOK
space
.
space
NEWS
space
.
space
OBITS
space
.
space
PERSPECTIVES
space
.
space
SPORTS
space
.
space
SUBSCRIBE
space
.
space
.
space
PESHTIGO FIRE
space
.
space
CUSTOM PRINTING
space
.
space
TIMES' SAVER
space
.
space
Click for Peshtigo, Wisconsin Forecast
FORECAST
space
Quick...
News or Ad Search
Enter News key words.
Enter Ad key words.



Peshtigo Times
841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
Email:
News@
PeshtigoTimes.com

space
Fax: 715-582-4662
© 2000-2020
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites