Bernard Kroger

Bernard Kroger

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Bernard Kroger

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Bernard Henry Kroger (January 24, 1860 – July 21, 1938), better known as Barney Kroger, was an American businessman who created the Kroger chain of supermarkets starting in 1883.


Kroger was born in Cincinnati, Ohio the fifth of ten children in a family of German immigrant. The family lived above a dry goods store that his parents owned, but Kroger was forced to go to work at age thirteen to help support his family. He quit his first job in a drug store because his religious mother objected to his working seven days a week. He then worked as a farmhand near Pleasant Plain, Ohio before contracting malaria and coming home.

Kroger then began working as a door to door salesman for the Great Northern and Pacific Tea Co., eventually ending up at the Imperial Tea Co. The grocery was not doing well, and the two owners made Kroger a manager. When the owners later refused to make Kroger a partner, he used his own money to open his own grocery.

Kroger's store, The Great Western Tea Co., succeeded despite numerous growing pains and catastrophes. Kroger opened four separate locations within two years. He renamed the company Kroger Grocery and Baking Co. in 1902, later shortened to Kroger, and opened over 5500 stores by the end of the 1920s. He is credited with introducing the low-cost grocery chain models that...
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