Augustine & Kyer was a grand, upscale grocery store with origins in Seattle’s early years. It was Seattle’s “Pure Food Purveyor”, selling food and merchandise of the highest quality. It also provided superior order and delivery service to its customers. Its stores flourished from 1907 until the 1930’s when, unfortunately, it succumbed to the Great Depression.
The history of Augustine & Kyer begins with an English grocer named Charles Louch. In 1885, Louch opened a wood frame grocery store on Front Street (later renamed First Avenue) in what was eventually to become downtown Seattle. The sign above the entry read, “Cigars Tobacco Groceries & Provisions”[i]. The 1885-86 Polk’s City Directory listed Louch as one of only 22 Seattle grocers.
In 1892, Louch formed a partnership with Manual Brock Augustine. Before settling in Seattle, M. B. Augustine lived in Silver City, Nevada, where he owned a general merchandise and mining supply store, and in Oakland, California, where he was a salesman for J.A. Folger, the coffee company.
In 1893, Louch, Augustine & Company moved its store to the new Colman Building at the corner of First Avenue and Marion Street. The store prospered in the late 1890’s during the Klondike gold rush, aided by Augustine’s experience as a mining supplier. The years 1907 – 1908 brought major changes. Louch and M.B. Augustine sold the company to Henry Kyer, Augustine’s son Julius was promoted to Vice President, and Kyer changed the company’s name to Augustine & Kyer. Kyer had been married to Alice Augustine, M.B. Augustine’s daughter, but they divorced in 1908, two days before Kyer purchased the company.[ii]…Continue reading “Remembering Queen Anne’s Neighborhood Grocery Stores: Augustine & Kyer”→
Aasten’s Grocery, which opened in 1925, stood at the corner of Queen Anne Avenue and Thomas Street for twenty-seven years. Like many other small neighborhood grocery stores of that era, it was a family business owned and operated by immigrants to the United States.
John Gunnufsen Aasten was hardworking and ambitious. He was born in Hovind, Norway on March 8, 1887. Aasten and his wife Karen came to the United States from Norway in 1906. He was nineteen. On his arrival, he listed his occupation as laborer. In 1917, on his Draft Registration card, he declared himself a miner employed by the Seattle Engineering Department. By 1924, however, he had found his calling. On the Declaration of Intention he filed that year to become a United States citizen, he registered his occupation as grocer. …Continue reading “Remembering Queen Anne’s Neighborhood Grocery Stores: Aasten’s Grocery”→
At the top of Queen Anne Hill, on the corner of Queen Anne Avenue North and West Boston Street, stood a small, independent grocery beloved by many on the Hill. The owner of the store was Morris Mezistrano, a self-made man and extraordinary entrepreneur.
Morris’ story is an inspiring one. He overcame the hardships of his youth to lead a remarkable life. He was born in Gallipoli, Turkey in 1909. His father was a well-to-do businessman who owned an import-export business and a successful store. But his family lost everything when trapped in the chaos of the First World War. His father was killed, his father’s store was bombed, and their business and all their material possessions were destroyed. Earlier, his sister had moved to Seattle to enter into an arranged marriage. When Morris was nine years old, his mother and her four sons, including Morris, escaped Turkey and made their way to Seattle, sponsored by Morris’ sister. …Continue reading “Remembering Queen Anne’s Neighborhood Grocery Stores: S&M Market”→