Reedsville's Rataichek's Hardware Store
For almost a half-century, Reedsville’s Rataichek’s Hardware Store at 444 Manitowoc Street was the place for neighbors, community news, and needed supplies. The hardware store has been many things: a dentist office, beauty shop, dry goods and grocery store, video store, a church, and most recently became home to Manitowoc Street Pub.
While much of the structure’s early history is unknown, the structure was moved to its current location on Manitowoc Street around 1913 from a lot near St. John- St. James Church. “One winter, this store building was moved by way of the present ball diamond and through the former Boettcher fields to the spot it is now located on Manitowoc and Fifth Streets,” describes a 1976 History of Reedsville booklet.
Becoming primarily a store, it was operated by many entrepreneurs including Dave Zimmerman, Chris and Suzanna Marsh, and F.F. Stelling. F.F. Stelling and his wife moved to Reedsville in 1880 and soon operated a store, a grist mill, and an undertaking parlor with his brother, Reinhart Stelling, for several years. Reinhart left the business and Mr. Stelling continued in it before retiring in 1911. Mr. Stelling held a number of public offices in
Reedsville and served for several years as village president. In the early 1930s, Dr. Clarence Bergmann operated his dentist office from the building and a beauty shop was also located there. Mr. Harry Swerloff operated a grocery and dry goods store here as well. He vacated the building after a short time and it stood empty.
In February 1937, Theodore and Margaret Rataichek moved to Reedsville to open a Gamble store. They had their choice between Valders, Wayside, or Reedsville. They chose Reedsville.
To begin, they rented the former Fredrick and Charles Maertz building at the corner of 6th and Menasha Streets. Ted took a two week training course at the Manitowoc Gamble Store and due to the delay of the Reedsville store’s counter and tables arriving, the business’ opening was postponed. The business officially opened on May 15, 1937. Rataichek’s first customer was Dr. E.C. Cary and one of their most popular items was the washing machine.
After four years in the Fredrick and Maertz building, the building was condemned and razed. Rataichek Hardware moved to this building in April, 1941. The building was currently owned by Manitowoc Savings Bank. The Rataichek’s rented the store and added “notions, dry goods, school supplies, ready-to-wear, and toys” to their already existing auto and hardware
supplies. A bicycle shop was also located in the back of the store. Ted and Margaret later purchased the building on a land contract and after a lot of cleaning and remodeling, the Rataichek family made their home here in May, 1941. The business operated under the Gamble store until 1966, when it became affiliated with the Our Own Hardware Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The store was operated by Cletus and Emily Rataichek from 1975 to 1984.
In June, 1984 it became McGinnis Heating and Air Conditioning. Over the years it was also a video store, church, and Bill Christel’s carpentry office. In June, 2016 the building opened as Manitowoc Street Pub, operated by Al and Patty Schreiber. It was, and continues to be, a place where members of the Reedsville community gather to reminisce, be in good company, and cheer on the home team.