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Mott department store, decorah ia
  • Title: Bertha Mott - Mott and Company Department Store
  • Location: Decorah, IA
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Of Norwegian descent, and a widow with small children, Bertha Mott (1855-1936) in 1886 resumed a life in business interrupted by her marriage. She earned a reputation as an astute businesswoman and in 1901, selling her farm to secure capital, she and a partner opened the two-location dry goods store Mott and Company. With her business thriving, in 1909 she moved the Decorah, Iowa store to a larger building on a location that had held a dry goods store since 1860. By 1920 she was managing the business alone, and then with two of her children. In 1925 local architect Charles Altfillisch designed for her a new, expansive building on the same site. Mott was active in the business until 1932, famed for being the first woman executive of a large retail center in Decorah. In 1947 Mott’s daughter sold the store, which became Wimmer’s, and then J. C. Penney’s. In 2019, after the Penney store closure, the Mott building was restored to its 1925 look and became the home of Impact Coffee.