Kroger 1883 Safeway, 1915 Piggly Wiggly, 1916 King Soopers, 1947 Wal-Mart, 1962 Whole Foods Market, 1980

TLW's Supermarketscope™ (Supermarket Historyscope)

By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™

© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.

Original Pub. Date: Feb. 6,. 2016. Last Update: May 29, 2018.

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What Is A Historyscope?

Westerners are not only known as history ignoramuses, but double dumbass history ignoramuses when it comes to supermarket history. Since I'm the one-and-only Historyscoper (tm), let me quickly bring you up to speed before you dive into my Master Historyscope.

Bernard Kroger (1860-1938) Kroger 1883

In 1883 the Kroger Co. (originally Great Western Tea Co., then Kroger Grocery and Baking Co. in 1902) is founded in Cincinnati, Ohio by Bernard Henry "Barney" Kroger (1860-1938) with $372 in savings, reaching 5.5K stores in 1930 and growing to the 3rd largest private employer in the U.S., 3rd largest retailer on Earth, 2nd largest retailer after Walmart, and largest supermarket chain in the U.S. ($115.3B/year); in 1916 it begins self-service shopping; in 1929 rumors fly that it is about to merge with Safeway; in the 1930s it becomes the first grocery chain to surround stores on all sides with parking lots and to monitor foods and test them for quality; in 1955 it begins acquiring other supermarket chains; in the 1970s it becomes the first grocery chain to use an electronic scanner and formalize consumer research; in 1972 it builds Crossroads Farms Dairy in Indianapolis, Ind., which becomes the largest dairy plant on Earth.

Marion Barton Skaggs (1888-1976) Safeway, 1915

In 1915 the Safeway supermarket chain starts out as Skaggs Cash Store in American Falls, Idaho, run by Mo.-born Marion Barton "M.B." Skaggs (1888-1976), who buys his father grocery store for $1,089, expanding by keeping a narrow profit margin and taking cash only, reaching 482 stores in 10 states by 1926, with the slogan "Drive the Safeway; Buy the Safeway"; in 1926 Merrill Lynch brokerage founder Charles E. Merrill buys the 322-store chain of W.R.H. Weldon, and buys Skaggs' 673 stores for $7M, creating the largest grocery store chain W of the Mississippi River; in the 1930s it introduces produce pricing by the pound, "sell by" dates on perishables, nutritional labeling, and parking lots; in 1996 it moves its HQ (originally in Reno, Nev.) from Oakland, Calif. to Pleasonton, Calif.

Clarence Saunders (1881-1953) Original Piggly Wiggly Store, Memphis, 1916 Piggly Wiggly, 1916

On Sept. 6, 1916 Piggly Wiggly, the first self-service grocery store is opened by Clarence Saunders (1881-1953) in Memphis, Tenn.; by 1923 his chain has 1,268 stores with total sales of $100M/year; in 1932 it tops out at 2,660 stores with sales of $180M/years; in 1922 Saunders tries to squeeze the stock, causng the N.Y. Stock Exchange to remove the stock and force him to turn over his assets to the banks, after which the stores are sold off to Kroger, Safeway, Nat. Tea, and Colonial; in 1978 it is acquired by Fleming Cos., which goes bankrupt in 2003, after which it is acquired by C&S Wholesale Grocers, who operate 600 stores in 17 states.

King Soopers, 1947

In 1947 Lloyd J. King and Charles W. Houchens found the King Soopers supermarket chain in Arvada, Colo.; in 1957 it is acquired by the Dillon Cos.; in 1983 it merges with Kroger.

Sam Walton (1918-92) Wal-Mart, 1962

In 1962 Wal-Mart (Walmart), the first discount retailer is founded in Rogers, Ark. by Okla.-born former Ben Franklin store owner Samuel Moore "Sam" Walton (1918-92), incorporating as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Oct. 31, 1969, and growing into the biggest mega-corp. in history (4K stores in the U.S., 1.6M U.S. employees, 2.3M global employees, global sales of $480B/year), putting ma-and-pop stores out of biz with a super-efficient mass-merchandising machine in every 1-horse town in the U.S. obsessed with offering the lowest price in town every day on almost every item and underpaying employees, which are called associates to avoid labor laws, while the penny-pinching founder lives like an avg. Joe, driving himself to pick up fast food, and giving his kids paltry allowances, even putting a slot machine in the attic to try and win it back?

John Mackey (1953-) Whole Foods Market, 1980

On Sept. 20, 1980 Whole Foods Market is founded in Austin, Tex. by John Mackey (1953-) et al. with $45K to sell organic food, growing to 479 stores and 91K employees by 2018; on Aug. 28, 2017 it merges with

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