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If nothing else, the sign gives it away. The shop on the corner of Goss and Hoertz avenues in Schnitzelburg has been around a long time – since 1912, to be exact. And while George Hauck of Hauck’s Handy Store may not remember the year that saw the Titanic go down and the ascent of President Woodrow Wilson, he’s borne witness to most every year since.
Hauck was born in 1920 in the very building that houses what he believes to be the last “mom and pop” shop in Louisville. His parents, William and Elizabeth, ran the dry goods store before he and his late wife Jean took it over in 1947; today, his two daughters, Lynn Hite and Karen Hauck, handle the day-to-day operations. And Hauck’s has stayed open continually all that time – even through the heavy rains of 1937. “The flood didn’t bother us,” Hauck says.
Hauck’s shop is a true general store, still offering cold beer and lunch meat to go, as the sign attests. “If you want a week’s or month’s supply of something, you go to what I call a ‘super-duper store,’” says Hauck, “but here you can stay here all day and people run in for just one item – a loaf of bread, toilet paper, potato chips, a pack of cigarettes. You sell lots of little things.” Hauck’s mother branded the shop “handy,” because that’s what it was. “My mom used that word because she sold everything. If you came in and asked for something and she didn’t have it, she would tell you to come back in two days and she’d go get it.”