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Barney Kroger

AKA Bernard Henry Kroger

Born: 24-Jan-1860
Birthplace: Cincinnati, OH
Died: 21-Jul-1938
Location of death: Cape Cod, MA
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, OH

Gender: Male
Religion: Anglican/Episcopalian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Founder of Kroger grocery empire

Barney Kroger's father was a dry goods dealer who went bankrupt in the 1873 economic panic, which led young Kroger, then 13, to quit school and go to work selling coffee and tea door-to-door. He later worked as a grocery clerk and was quickly promoted to store manager, but when sales increased he was not given the raise he felt he deserved, so he quit. With his savings and funds borrowed from a friend he opened his own shop, the Great Western Tea Company, on 1 July 1883, and within a year he was operating four stores. By 1902 he had 40 stores, which he then incorporated as The Kroger Grocery and Baking Company.

Fanatically obsessed with having the lowest prices, Kroger was among the first large-scale retailers to eliminate the middle-man, in 1901 opening a bakery to supply bread for his stores, and three years later purchasing a butchering and packing facility to supply meats. His company was also among the first to hire female cashiers, and to own its own fleet of trucks for supplying stores instead of contracting with local truckers. The company had more than 5,000 stores when Barney Kroger sold his interest in Kroger to Lehman Brothers in 1928. He then honeymooned with his 36-year-old bride, gave each of his seven children $1-million, and retired to Cape Cod. His company, now selling groceries under about two dozen chain names, marketed about ten percent of America's groceries in 2005.

Father: John Henry Kroger (grocer)
Mother: Mary Schlebee Kroger
Wife: Mary Emily Jansen (m. 1886, d. 1898, seven children)
Wife: Alice Farrington Flynn Maher Kroger (b. 1892, m. 1928)

    Kroger Founder & President (1883-1928)
    Kiwanis Club Cincinnati, OH
    Rotary International Cincinnati, OH
    German Ancestry
    Risk Factors: Malaria


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