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A Little History
A Little History

1861

Gillespie Shoes was the predecessor to Peterson Shoes. Founded in 1861, it had been the longest running shoe store at one location in the state of Minnesota. Fire destroyed downtown Anoka in 1884, and Gillespie rebuilt. In 1938 when the Anoka County Union reported Gillespie’s was closing, Mel and Estelle Peterson purchased the store with funds obtained by Mel’s parents mortgaging their home. There was already a connection to Gillespie’s as Mel’s father, Andy, had worked for Gillespie as a shoemaker.

1941

Pictured left to right (below) are Tuffy Nelson, a longtime employee, Estelle and Mel Peterson, and Sandra at three years old. Sandra fondly recalls running through the store as a child and coming in after school to measure her feet with the X-ray machine (a practice later outlawed due to the radiation exposure).

1948

A view of Main Street Anoka in 1948 (below)

Sandra met her husband Jack through the shoe business. Jack had been a rep for Brown Shoes. He became a partner in Peterson Shoes with Sandra’s mother, Estelle, who had been running the business alone since her husband Mel died in 1956.

Sandra and Jack ran the store together until his death in 1994. Daughter Michelle joined the staff in 1982 when they moved to the new location.

shoe repair peterson shoes anoka mn

1990

Bill Oestreicher opened his shoe repair business in the back of Peterson Shoes in 1990. He is a third generation cobbler, learning the trade from his father, Tony.

2014

Peterson Shoes was named Outstanding Retail Business of the Year by the Anoka Area Chamber of Commerce in 2014.

From a staff of two (Sandy and daughter, Michelle) for many years, Peterson Shoes has grown to a staff of nine. (BELOW)

Peterson Shoes moved to its current location at 209 East Main St. in 1982 and expanded in 2010. Now Peterson Shoes is into its third generation. Daughter Michelle is one of three Certified Pedorthists on staff. Daughter in-law Dawn was a part-time employee in the late 80’s and returned full time in 2013. Also pictured below are Amanda St. Germain, (C. Ped.) and longtime employee Nora Sireno.

Peterson Shoes is a family-owned shoe store that has been an Anoka mainstay for over 77 years. The original shoe store, founded by G. I. Gillespie in 1861, was purchased by Melvin and Estelle Peterson in 1938 and became Peterson Shoes. It is currently owned by the Peterson’s daughter, Sandra Purtle, who has been happily fitting shoes for over 50 years! Now into the third generation, Sandra’s daughter, Michelle Purtle, has over 30 years of shoe-fitting experience.

Whether you need a running shoe or a dress shoe, boots or sandals, shoes for your children, yourself, or your grandparents, the dedicated staff at Peterson Shoes is committed to serving your footwear and foot care needs.

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