Kraus Department Store

Kraus Department Store's Timeline

In 1886, Edward Kraus (a German immigrant whose family settled in Erie) built a small frame building at 810-816 Parade St. from which he operated the 5 & 10-cent General Merchandising Store. Parade Street was the main shopping area. Some of Erie’s finest homes were built within walking distance of the store. The neighborhood had been settled by German immigrants originally, and Edward Kraus became one of the most successful businessmen on Parade Street.


Edward Kraus remodeled the store, adding the wooden floors of the current electrical and clothing departments and the staircase leading to the second floor.


Edward Kraus passed away. At that point, operation of the store was passed down to his children.  


Kraus Department Store employed a man on second shift to tend the coal-burning furnace and a man on third shift as a watchman. At that time, the Kraus family lived in the original one-story building next door to the store. 


Ed Kraus’ daughter, Mary, wed Edward Miller. At the end of that year, Ed Miller became the manager of Kraus Department Store and he was to run the store until his death.


Kraus’ weathered the Depression years and World War II, because of its loyal customer base and its reputation for personal service, a reputation that proudly continues today.


The store’s second major expansion occurred when the original structure which had served as the first store and, later, the family home, was replaced by the one-story addition, which included an elevator to the second floor. An off-street parking lot was also added.


Ed and Mary Kraus Miller passed the store to their daughter Lou Ann, her husband, Dan Nowosielski, and their son, Jerry Miller and his wife, Betty. 


The second floor became closed to the public and is now used for storage. Dan and Lou Ann Miller Nowosielski became owners of Kraus’ after they bought out Jerry and Betty Miller.


Kraus Department Store marked its 100th anniversary and received a special certificate from the governor to mark the milestone. Later that year, Dan Nowosielski died, and his wife Lou Ann became the sole owner of Kraus Department Store. 


The store retired the old crank cash registers, some of them dating back to 1910, that had been used to record sales. “Even though they would probably still work,” according to Lou Ann Nowosielski, who represents the third generation of the store’s founder, “parts are impossible to get.” They were replaced with new computer cash registers, which record all sales.


Lou Ann Nowosielski and son: Tom, Joe

Lou Ann Nowosielski’s sons, Tom, Louie and Joe, became co-owners and expanded the store’s services. Customers can now rent heavy equipment as well as small tools like drain snakes or roofing nailers


The store has 12 employees, including one member of the third generation, Lou Ann Nowosielski, three members of the fourth generation, Joe, Tom and Louis Nowosielski, and three members of the fifth generation Adam, Ian and Rory Nowosielski.

Click here to download the History of Our Family Owned Business - Kraus Department Store.


Kraus Department Store won the first ever Commitment to Erie Award in 2012.

“Anyone can make a promise. But a commitment, it seems, has to survive the test of time.” (Erie Times News). 

Kraus Department Store has truly done that for over 125 years at our original 810 Parade Street location.


2013 was also good to Kraus Department Store as they became PRO Hardware’s Paul L. Cosgrave Memorial Award Winner & PRO Retailer of the Year.


Kraus Family Photo - Kraus Department Store - Erie, PA

Kraus Department Store still has the old-time feel of a family-owned business, personal service and good advice. It remains the place to shop for those hard-to-find items. And yes, the candy counter still draws wideeyed children and the customer is still “king.”

Thank you for your continued support throughout these many years!

Kraus Deperatment Store.
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