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Top stories of 2021

Top 10 Local stories of 2021: No. 10 -- Jack Andrea store closes after 110 years

For generations of Kenoshans, a beautifully wrapped box with a gold ribbon and seal promised a gift purchased at Andrea’s Gift Shop.

That’s just a cherished memory now that the store — which changed its name to Jack Andrea in recent years to honor its founder — has closed its doors.

In January, store owners announced they would be closing after more than 100 years of retail service to Kenosha. That long legacy of service to the community, and the fact that the store played a pivotal role in the lives of many Kenoshans and was a regional destination for many others, landed the story on the Kenosha News’s Top 10 stories list for 2021.

The remaining top 10 will run over the next days, culminating on Dec. 31 with the announcement of the top story of the year.

Customers, friends and fans flocked to the Jack Andrea closing sale in June at the store, located at 2401 60th St., just west of Kenosha’s Uptown area.

The business started in 1911 when Giacomo Andrea began selling tobacco and candies from a piano crate, catering to men and women working at a nearby factory. He opened the store and soda fountain four years later.

Over the years, the family reinvented the store to include a mix of women’s clothing, gifts, jewelry, chocolates, cigars and Kenosha-themed memorabilia. The in-store restaurant, known for its ice cream treats, was a popular lunch spot.

During the store’s closing sale, co-owner David Andrea talked to the Kenosha News about the decision to close.

“My brother-in-law Scott Bruss and I had been trying to figure out a way to retire, because there wasn’t anyone (to take on the store) after us,” he said. “The pandemic just sort of tipped the balance for us.”

David Andrea noted that his niece, co-owner and store manager Annie Goodman, “has been doing a wonderful job coming to Kenosha from her home in Minneapolis” to help with the transition.

Building sold

It was reported on June 29 that Jockey International had purchased the Jack Andrea building, located across the street from Jockey headquarters.

David Andrea said the family was selective about who they would it sell to.

“We had standards: no bars, quick-loan places or liquor stores,” he said.

Explaining the family’s rationale, he said, “This neighborhood has supported us for 110 years, and we feel we have an obligation to replace (the store) with something positive and uplifting.”

Plans for the building and store will be announced by Jockey at a later date.

Though Jockey has so far not announced its plans for the building, Mark Fedyk, Jockey president and COO, said in a statement that the building purchase “is an investment in the Uptown neighborhood and Kenosha community, which has been our home for more than 120 years. Our future plans for the property will continue to focus on serving families, uplifting the neighborhood, providing opportunities for the community and creating a place to gather and shop.”

A large dumpster sits at the building’s rear entrance, and a construction permit is on the front door, signaling some sort of work will be starting soon.

As for David Andrea, he is “delighted that Jockey, our neighbor of over 100 years, is taking over our building. We know they will continue to be positive custodians of our home for the past 110 years. Our family feels grateful and blessed to have had the support of multiple generations of Kenoshans. It was truly a joy to go to work every day.”

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