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Kroger Company: a History of Innovation, Unionization, Consumer Research

Kroger, with over 3600 stores, is the largest conventional supermarket chain in the US and the second largest grocery retailer after Wal-Mart.  The chain has been around for over 129 years.

In 1883, Bernard Kroger, plowed his life savings of $372 (about $9,278 in today’s marketplace) to start a new concept for selling food. His new grocery store opened in a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. Kroger, the son a merchant with strong work ethics, firmly believed in “Never sell anything you would not want yourself.”

During the early years of the 20th Century, Kroger kept experimenting with new ways of trying to please his market base. One of Bernard Kroger’s traditions was constant consumer research and reaction to quality of service and products.  His was the first grocery chain to monitor house brands for quality.

The making of fresh bread was an early hit with customers.  In the 1970’s Kroger was the first grocery chain to test electronic scanners. The introduction of “Kroger cards” in the 1990s was an innovation to both attract customers with discounts and track purchases.Kroger store locations

Overall, the Kroger grocery chain was built by acquiring new local and regional grocery chains with strengths for the Kroger chain. Kroger

A majority of Kroger workers are members of either the Teamsters or United Food and Commercial Workers Unions. Of the 338,000 Kroger employees, 208,000 are members of the UFCW, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers website.  


Map of Kroger locations Mapmuse.com


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