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Peter T. Stoffel, who for thirty years has been engaged in the dry goods trade in Racine, has contributed in large measure to the substantial growth of the business, which is among the foremost enterprises of this character in the city. His course at all times measures up to high commercial standards and he follows the most modern methods of merchandising, the salient features of his success being unremitting enterprise, judicious advertising and honorable dealing. Mr. Stoffel was born in Racine, July 8, 1864. a son of Nicholas J. and Juliana Maria (Schmidt) Stoffel, both of whom were natives of Germany, the former of Neierkirch and the latter of Leidneck, Castellaun, in the district of Koblenz along the Rhine. In that country they remained until their marriage, and then, thinking to enjoy better opportunities in the new world, they came to the United States in 1851 and settled in Racine. The father was a cooper by trade and for a time carried on business on his own account, but later was connected with the J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company for thirty-five years. Both he and his wife have now passed away.
Peter T. Stoffel attended a parochial school conducted under the auspices of St. John’s Lutheran church and afterward became a public school pupil. He made his initial step in the business world as an employee of the J. W. Spence Jewelry Company, with which firm he remained for seven years, and during that time carefully saved his earnings until his industry and economy had brought him sufficient capital to enable him to engage in business on his own account. He then embarked in the dry goods trade on the 26th of September, 1887, in connection with his brother Jacob, who had established a store about six years before. The business was at No. 618 State Street and in 1888 a removal was made to No. 616 State Street, where they have since been located. In 1901 they opened a branch store on the north side of Racine at No. 527 High Street and about 1904 removed to their spacious new store, put up by themselves, at Nos. 612-614 High street. The building used as their main store is a three-story structure, twenty-two by one hundred feet, in which they carry a general line of dry goods, carpets, linoleums, etc. They now have two of the largest dry goods emporiums in Racine, carrying a very extensive line of goods, which includes everything that the markets of the world afford in their line. Their goods are attractively displayed and a corps of clerks is employed to wait upon the customers, giving them courteous treatment and attention. The business methods of the house, too, are such as will bear the closest investigation and scrutiny and in presenting their goods their word is as good as their bond.
On the 1st of May, 1890, Mr. Stoffel was married to Miss Wilhelmina Palm, of Helenville, Jefferson County, Wisconsin, a daughter of Ludwig and Margaret (Kehrberger) Palm, highly respected pioneers of Wisconsin. The children of this marriage are: Esther, Ruth, Harold, Cecelia, Margaret and Reuel. The eldest daughter is married to John Ungrodt of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who holds a responsible position with the Second Ward Savings Bank of that city; Harold is attending the Concordia College at. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the others are all at home.
Mr. Stoffel and his family are all members of St. John’s Lutheran church and his political support is given to the Republican Party. His fellow townsmen, appreciative of his worth and ability, have called him to public office and for nine years he served as alderman from the Fourth ward and was president of the council for three terms. He did very effective work along the line of public progress. One of the acts of his public service was to take the cemetery out of old style politics and place it under the commission form, which he succeeded in doing after a persistent and indefatigable effort covering two years, having the assistance in this matter of Hon. A. J. Horlick who was then mayor. Today the city has one of the best organized and regulated cemeteries under commission control in the country when judged by its financial condition and its beauty. Mr. Stoffel is also credited with most earnest and effective work in support of motorizing the fire department. All of the different stations are today supplied with motors save that of Sixteenth Street, which is to be motorized in 1917 and which will then place Racine second to no city in the state in its fire protection. Mr. Stoffel is also a member of the new armory board, created in 1916, serving in that capacity by virtue of his office as chairman of the finance committee of the city council.
He was also one of the organizers of the Commercial Club, served on its first board of directors and has been its vice president for several terms. His interest in the public welfare is deep and sincere and is manifest in many tangible efforts to advance the general good, his labors resulting in public benefit-a fact acknowledged by the consensus of opinion on the part of his fellowmen.