Kroger was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1883 by Bernard Kroger who invested his life savings of $372 to open a grocery store in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Cincinnati. Kroger was the son of a grocer and his motto was simple “Don’t sell anything you wouldn’t buy for yourself.”
Soon, Kroger was experimenting with different products, such as baked goods, so customers wouldn’t have to go to the baker. He was one of the original starters for One Stop Shopping.
Ahead of his time, Kroger was the first merchant to offer self-service. In the past, customers handed a list or asked a merchant for items behind the counter, Kroger allowed customers to browse through aisles themselves.
In the 1930s, Kroger was the first grocery to monitor product quality and first to have a store surrounded on all sides by a parking lot.
In 1955, Kroger acquired Henke & Pillot.
In 1983, Kroger acquired the Dillon Companies, a Kansas grocery chain. David Dillion is the current CEO of Kroger.
Many other acquisitions followed in recent years including Pay Less Food Markets, Hilander Foods and Scott’s Food & Pharmacy.
In 1997, the company merged with Fred Meyer.
In April of 2016, the company announced that they had taken a significant share in the Lucky supermarket chain.
In early 2017, the company announced that it needed to hire at least 10,000 full-time employees in the coming year. That same year, the company acquired Murray’s Cheese and stopped offering senior citizen discount days.
Kroger opened their first convenience store in Blacklick, Ohio, called Fresh Eats MKT. Each location will offer a Starbucks, as well as a Kroger Pharmacy.
Kroger is publicly traded on the NYSE under the ticker symbol: KR. In 2016, the company had annual revenue of $115.3 billion.
The company has been banning the use of Visa cards for payments due to high fees, with the most recent announcement in March 2019 that they would no longer accept Visa at their Smith’s Foods locations starting April 3rd, 2019.
Today, the company operates over 3500 stores. The Kroger corporate office is still located in Cincinnati, Ohio.