Dubuque family business to close after more than 100 years and four generations

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- After 111 years, a Dubuque family-run business is now preparing to close. A number of factors led to the owner's decision, but she has not lost faith in her ability to sell out all that remains.

Four generations have owned and operated Knippel's Religious Goods on Main Street in downtown Dubuque, but owner Casey Reekie says now is the time to prepare to close the store.

"It's a hard thing to do, I've been thinking about it for two years now," Reekie said. "I just came to the conclusion I needed to do it while I still could do it. While I'm still capable of cleaning it out. And not leaving it to my sons to clean out in the future."

Reekie recalled countless memories of her children, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather- all rooting from the store. She remembers her father first asking for her help as if it was yesterday.

"He asked me to go down and check on the store," Reekie recalled. And that will be 25 years this Halloween.

"It has brought me very close to my religion, and to God, and close to people," Reekie said.

Reekie said prior to opening on Wednesday, there were already fourteen people lining up waiting to come inside.

"I've always enjoyed coming here because she always has such a collective group of everything that goes back in history to more current things," said Deacon Bill Mauss, who has shopped at the store for more than a decade, for himself as well as for Stonehill Francisian Services. "So it's always interesting for me to come and look over what she has to offer. "

For shoppers like Mauss, the doors to this storefront will not stay open much longer.

"I have a lot of health issues, and it's getting very hard to get through a day anymore," Reekie said. She said other factors contributed to her decision, including seeing fewer customers and a declining interest from younger generations.

"She's been very generous, she always gives us a discount when we buy products," Mauss said. "She's just been great to work with as long as I've know her."

"We've been a Dubuque tradition, that's for sure," Reekie said.

Reekie said she has plenty to sell before they permanently close shop, and then she will shift her full-time focus to her hobby: making rosaries.