We’re often asked where the Kitz & Pfeil name came from, so what follows is a brief account of the story.
Kitz & Pfeil was started in 1913 by Joseph H. Kitz & Charles E. Pfeil when they purchased a sporting goods store in Oshkosh, WI and began the process of converting it into a Hardware store. After they finished closing out the Indian Motorcycles and other sports paraphernalia, they started to add an eclectic selection of merchandise which included items like Victor Talking Machines and Oshkosh’s largest selection of Kodak cameras, in addition to a full line of tools, appliances, furnaces and other hardware items.
In 1949 Arthur and Marie Stapel and their son Carl Stapel purchased Kitz & Pfeil. Arthur Stapel ran a wholesale farm coop and Carl was in college at the time, so Marie ran the Hardware store until Carl was out of college and done with his military service. Art borrowed the money for the purchase of the store from his brother-in-law who owned a hardware store in Sturgeon Bay and often related the story of the high level of apprehension he had at driving home with the purchase price of the business, in cash, sitting next to him in the car.
In the 1950’s Kitz & Pfeil got out of the appliance business and we continued to expand our selection of hardware, tools, plumbing and electrical items. We increased the size of the original store twice during the late 50’s and early 60’s. In the mid 1960s we became the first family owned hardware store in the state (and maybe the country) to have a computer controlled inventory system using software that Carl Stapel wrote, which allowed us to have the items our customers wanted in stock when they wanted them. Today at any given time we have over 80,000 different items on hand to meet people’s needs. In late 1969 we opened our 2nd store in Appleton and in 1977 we opened our 3rd store in Menasha. In the 1980s we purchased two stores: Drektrah’s Hardware in Berlin (in 1983) and Kielmann Hardware in Fond du Lac in 1988. In the most recent years we’ve continued our expansion through increasing the size of our existing stores so that we can continue to offer a broader selection of products to our customers. The additional space has allowed us to add new lines or increase the selection of products we’d previously had. A few of these expanded/new lines include mowers, tractors, snowblowers, ladders, grills, paint, greenhouse, trailers and full service rental departments.
For over 95 years it has been a priority to have helpful, friendly, knowledgeable people to aid our customers get the right products along with excellent advice so that projects will be completed successfully.
We always hope to excel in our goals of providing you, our customers, with service, selection and value! Thank you for your part in allowing us to serve you for so many years.