Founder of the Greater Cincinnati Remke Market Grocery chain. William Remke Sr. was born in 1872 in Covington. His parents were German immigrants, Henry Remke and Elizabeth Flege Remke. On August 26, 1896, William Remke Sr. married Helena Jansen at St. Aloysius Church in Covington.
William Remke Sr. established a butcher shop in 1897 in Covington’s west end. The first location of the store was at 11th and Holman Streets. A move placed the grocery at the northeast corner of 17th and Holman Streets by 1907. A second move in 1922 placed the grocery at the corner of 19th and Holman Streets.
As the business grew, the Remke family became more prosperous. Eventually, they moved to a home at 11 Pleasant Ridge in suburban Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. Remke died suddenly in this home on December 14, 1932. The funeral Mass was held at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Fort Mitchell with burial at Mother of God Cemetery in Covington. Remke was survived by his widow Helena Jansen Remke. Other survivors included his children, William Remke, Robert Remke, Louis Remke, Elsie Remke Riesenbeck, Helen Rosenecker and Alberta Remke. He was also survived by the following siblings: Mary Remke Rademacher and Henry Remke, both of Covington.
At the time of his death, Remke’s three sons took over operation of the business. Under the guidance of the second generation, the business expanded. A second store was opened in Fort Mitchell at 2465 Dixie Highway in 1935. In 1956, architect Charles Hildreth was commissioned to draw plans for a new Fort Mitchell Store on the Dixie Highway at Orphanage Road (2501 Dixie Highway). The plans called for an 80 x 140’ structure costing $160,000 (including then land). Stevie’s Café, a Prohibition era establishment once stood on this site.
Eventually, the store at 19th and Holman Street in Covington closed. In 1988, a warehouse for the chain was established in a building at 8th and Russell Streets in Covington. In 1996, the majority ownership of the business passed to the employees of the market. Remke Markets continued to expand. By 2002, six new stores were in operation at the following locations: 7791 Dixie Highway in Florence, 5016 Old Taylor Mill Road in Taylor Mill, 4116 Webster Avenue in Deer Park Ohio, 2440 High Street in Crescent Springs, 3960 Turkeyfoot Road in Independence and 82 Carothers Road in Newport.
Cincinnati Post, July 5, 2001, p. 7B; Kentucky Times-Star, January 11, 1956, p. 6A; Kentucky Post, July 22, 1996, p. 4k and December 15, 1932; 1910 US Federal Census, Kenton County, Kentucky.