Harris Teeter began in 1936 when William Thomas Harris and Willis L. Teeter opened Harris Super Market in Charlotte, North Carolina. This store still exists, though it is currently being renovated.
Harris had been an employee of an A&P store. He borrowed some money to help open the first store, which had 8 employees. It was mainly a dry goods and canned goods store at that time, since refrigeration was uncommon until after WWII.
In 1939, Willis and Robert Teeter opened Teeter’s Food Mart in Charleston, South Carolina. The company was the first in North Carolina which allowed customers to select their own items. To appeal to working families, the store remained open until 9PM on Fridays. This enabled the company to cash checks and allowed families to do shopping on Friday night, rather than Saturday.
The store in Charlotte was the first to add air conditioning as well.
In 1960, these two companies merged and opened their first joint venture in Kannapolis.
In 1969, Harris Teeter was purchased by the Ruddick Corporation.
In the late 1980s, the company began to expand outside of the Carolinas under the leadership of Edward Dunn. The chain was the first to test plastic shopping bags and also the first to install child belts into shopping carts.
In 2013, the company was acquired by Kroger for $2.4 billion. Harris Teeter would continue to operate under their name as a subsidiary of Kroger, Inc.
Harris Teeter Home Shopping Express Lane allows customers to shop for groceries online and pick them up at their neighborhood Harris Teeter store. As of October 2017, 178 stores offered online pickup service, with some areas also offers a home delivery option for an additional cost.
Today, the company operates over 245 stores along the east coast and in the south. In 2012, the company had annual revenue of $4.54 billion and employs approximately 30,000 persons. The Harris Teeter corporate office is located in Matthews, North Carolina.