Highlighting Lewis County: Dutch Woman Known for Hospitality Launched Coffee Business at 60


Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a two-part story. Read the first installment here.

Grace Klijnsma was 25 when she married Pieter “Peter” Andree on July 31, 1953, in Heerenveen in a 1648 palatial-like manor surrounded by a moat known as Crackstate. After World War II ended, the Dutch government encouraged residents in the densely populated nation to emigrate, so Grace and Peter were among 500,000 who left the country. Peter wanted to move to Australia, but Grace had maternal aunts and uncles in California who could sponsor them.

Grace’s first child, Chris, born at home in Holland and named for his grandfather, was about a year old when they sailed to the United States in 1957. Her parents, who encouraged them to leave because it was safer, visited them in 1965, and Grace and her family returned to the Netherlands at least once. Grace’s sister, who is seven years younger, still lives in Heerenveen.

Peter and Grace settled near Anaheim, California, where Peter milked cows for five years. Then, in the early 1960s, they bought a 110-acre dairy farm on Puget Island in Wahkiakum County, where they lived for 17 years and milked between 70 and 150 head of cattle. That is, her husband did.

“I’ve never been able to,” she said. “I could not get one drop out of a cow. It’s just not my thing.”

Their second son, Willem, and daughter Atje, known as Audrey, were born in California, while the youngest, Margaret, was born in Longview.

Then, in the late 1970s, when the girls were still in school, the family moved north to a 160-acre farm in the Hanaford Valley outside Centralia. They grew trees and had beef cattle and horses.

Although as a child she went to the Christian Reformed Church, the family attended a Presbyterian church in Centralia. Grace joined the Centralia-Chehalis Christian Women’s Club, where she met another Dutch immigrant, Audrey Rademaker of Chehalis, while raising money for missionaries. She also connected with June Gorter, Fund’s mother. They often gathered together to play cards and other games.

As a farmer’s wife, Grace cooked, baked, grew a garden, canned produce and raised the children. She taught her offspring to sew, needlepoint, latch hook, cross-stitch. She liked to read and loved to shop. “Oh, I dragged my girls to all the stores,” she said.

She became known for her gracious hospitality, including her scrumptious lemon butter cake, a recipe she has passed on to her children and grandchildren.

But as a grocer’s daughter, she long desired to run her own business.

The opportunity occurred after her son, Chris Andree, started constructing the Centralia Factory Outlet Center, according to a 1991 Chronicle article by George H. Blomdahl. She told him, “Chris, you ought to have a coffee shop here.”

The spaces had already been leased, but when he built an addition on Haviland Street, he visited his mother for her birthday. “Happy birthday, Mom,” he told her. “I have a surprise for you. You can have your own coffee shop.”

In 1989, at the age of 60, she opened Andree Ltd., or Andree’s Coffee Haus, with four employees. Her shop featured coffee, baked goods, imported delft blue gifts and imported cheeses, which she learned about while working in Holland outside the city. Her favorite is gouda. She also likes Friesen cheese.

The shop’s popularity proved problematic as the business outgrew its location within a year. When an ice cream business across the street moved out, her son remodeled and expanded that location for her business, which featured a windmill.

By the second year, she employed a dozen people, including a store manager and a cook, and won “The Best Iced Coffee of 1991” Award for her creation of “The Scudbuster,” a Desert Strom concoction of gourmet espresso coffee, cream de cacao (torani), vanilla, and half-and-half topped with whipped cream, a red straw and flag, and blue and red sugar crystals. Her prize from the coffee wholesalers sponsoring the contest was 100 pounds of coffee.

She often traveled to Canada and throughout the United States searching for the best coffee and gift items for her shop, which she ran for 18 years. By 78, she said, she was tired.

While her business thrived, her marriage didn’t. She and Peter officially divorced in July 1997, and he passed away at his Centralia home on Feb. 20, 2018. He was 90.

A second chance at romance occurred when she was 70 after her old boyfriend spent eight years tracking her down following his wife’s death. “And he found me,” she said. “He was very happy to see me and fly to me.”

They dated a bit, although he lived in Canada. She visited him, and they sailed on Lake Ontario. Before their love could flourish, he died.

“It was not in the cards,” she said.

Although she liked her sweets, she smoked cigarettes only once in a while, and she drank alcohol once, during a trip to Brea Canyon in Southern California. She was thirsty, and her husband brought her a large glass of wine. She drank it all.

“Never had a glass of wine again,” she said. “I was drunk as a skunk. I was just laughing all the time. I never laughed so hard in my life. Never drank again. I thought, I cannot take this.”

She used to work out at Thorbeckes. She loved to swim, which she learned to do in the Netherlands. She drove until she was in her 80s.

So, what’s the secret to her longevity?

“You have to shut up,” she said. “You have to listen.”

Her favorite Dutch meal is a good roast beef, Brussels sprouts and spinach. She described how she cooked the roast to a moist and tender perfection.

As for advice for her five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, she said, “Love the Lord. Obey your parents — not that I did that.”

She described her parents as sweet, even though she rebelled at times, and her faith in God as “very big.” When death comes, she knows where she’ll go. “That’s for sure.”


Julie McDonald, a personal historian from Toledo, may be reached at memoirs@chaptersoflife.com.