Kaffie-Frederick Hardware Store
Kaffie-Frederick Hardware Store758 Front Street
This company is the oldest continuously operated business in Natchitoches. Established in 1863, Kaffie Frederick has operated continuously as a general mercantile serving the hardware, housewares, and gift needs of Natchitoches and the surrounding area.
Founded by Jewish Prussian immigrants Harris and Adolph Kaffie, the business quickly grew to become one of the largest general department stores in North Louisiana. A second generation of Kaffies, Harold and Sidney, continued operations through the mid twentieth century. In 1954, Titus Frederick who began working for the business in 1920, was allowed to purchase stock in the company. The name was then changed to Kaffie-Frederick. Throughout the years, the business was a supplier of basic goods needed to run a farm, household or a trade. Studebaker wagons, Moline and John Deere products, school books, groceries, clothing, and even caskets were just a few of the goods available. Constructed in 1892, the property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is noted as one of the best preserved properties in the Historic District.
Local historian Robert DeBlieux, in his book, “A Walking Tour of the Historic District”, states “It is one of three buildings in Natchitoches that exhibits the ornamental pressed metal front that was so popular in the late 19th century. The Kaffie-Fredericks building is one of the most significant commercial buildings because of its outstanding interior and exterior integrity.”
The interior of the store is relatively unchanged with only one update having been made in the 1920s. Original cash registers are still used daily as is a freight elevator that was installed in the 1890s. Large skylight openings are still present, reminders of the need for natural light prior to electrical service being introduced. A large collection of items sold yesteryear are displayed on the walls and shelves. In addition to still serving as a general store, Kaffie-Frederick has expanded by re-opening its upper level to house a Christmas Department from October to January.