Tired of war, a young soldier left the German Army and boarded a ship for America, landing in New Orleans, LA. He headed up the Mississippi River equipped with only his past experience and desire for the New World. In 1866, Quincy was both one of the largest cities on the Mississippi and also in Illinois. Predominantly German Catholic, Henry Oenning found in Quincy many similarities he left in the Old World and decided this would be his new home. He immediately set up a German-Catholic bible store on Maine Street between 6th and 7th Streets to service the area.
As business grew, the store expanded to English bibles, both German and English text books and school supplies. Needing more room, the company moved to 632 Maine St. Somewhere in the early 1900's, Mr. Oenning secured a franchise for Pittsburgh Plate Glass that covered 1/3 of the U.S. He renamed his firm Oenning Glass and book Company. The company prospered in its new venture. Always remembering his Catholic background, Mr. Oenning donated funds to build the gymnasium at 8th and Broadway. He transferred ownership over to the Catholic Youth Organization. It is still in use today.
In 1945, another soldier was returning to his hometown from war. Released early due to medical discharge, Paul Ridder, SR. was hired by Oenning's as a general assistant. His duties included cleaning the store, overseeing the coal furnace and helping as needed. His supervisors noticed Mr. Ridder's dedication and hard work. As his 6 children entered the scene, Paul was working his way toward becoming General Manager. Paul Ridder, Sr. led the company to many changes. School and art supplies were eliminated, as were textbooks and most German items. The religion department continued to expand. A line of German Christmas cards is still sold at Ridder's Business Supply Company.
In 1972, Paul Sr. and his son, Paul Jr. purchased the stationery portion of the firm and renamed it Ridders Business Supply Company. Together they refined the product mix and moved heavily into office supplies, furniture and machines. In addition, a full line of gifts was added to the ever-present religious department. Since then, many changes have occurred. In 1975, the firm purchased the adjoining building owned by Likes Jewelers and combined the two areas. This positioned the firm for the growth that has continued each year since its start. In 1989, the firm expanded to Keokuk, IA. The opening of this store was long planned since this was the hometown of Paul, Sr's wife, Betty. In 1993, Paul, Sr. passed away.
Throughout the entire 138-year history, our growth has been a result of the patronage and loyalty of our valued customers. Our employees and their families are very appreciative of your business and look forward to servicing your needs in the years ahead.. Copystar|Haworth|Mita|Office Furniture|Special Orders
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