Kozelka’s closes after 88 years

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Kozelka’s Men’s Wear in downtown Prairie du Chien is going out of business due to retirement of the owners. The retail business has been in the family since Ralph Kozelka started it in 1927. (Photo by Correne Martin)

Tom and Richard Kozelka

By Correne Martin and Ted Pennekamp

The owners of Kozelka’s Men’s Wear, Tom and Richard Kozelka, have retired, and the decision has been made to go out of business after 88 years of retail in downtown Prairie du Chien. Kozelka’s is closed Monday through Wednesday this week to prepare for a quitting business sale, which will begin Thursday, Oct. 29 at 9 a.m. and run until the last day of business.

Gary Kozelka, Lisa (Kozelka) Dyer and Linda (Kozelka) Heal continue running the business at this time. They have not set a final closing date.

All gift certificates will be honored at the store until it closes. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.

Ralph Kozelka opened the men’s wear store in 1927 in a small lean-to building across from the current post office in Prairie du Chien. Clothing in the store ranged from boys’ and men’s suits and dress shirts to heavy-weight overalls and durable socks. Hats, belts, shoes and more were also sold in the store.

Ralph and his wife, Albina, continued to run the store for several years before passing the family business onto their children, Tom Kozelka, Richard Kozelka and Marie (Kozelka) Wall.

The store moved to its current location, 120 N. Beaumont Rd., in the late 1960s. Later, in the late 1980s, an addition was built to enlarge the store to twice its size.

In 1977, the family purchased a clothing store in Dodgeville and a second Kozelka’s Mens Wear was created. Eventually, Tom and Richard took over the Prairie du Chien store and Marie and her son, Bill, became owners of the Dodgeville store. Even with the exchange in ownership, Marie continued to work as a bookkeeper in the Prairie du Chien store for several years.

Due to several requests, Tom and Richard added the western clothing line in 1992. The latest addition, ladies casual wear, was added in 2010.

As it has been for the last near-nine decades, the Kozelka family is grateful to all of the loyal customers and employees who have supported them over the years.

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