Kroger Celebrates 130 Years!

We recently featured our friends at Kroger Co., but also want to make you aware of the company's latest milestone as it celebrated its 130th birthday yesterday. A release has more:

The Kroger Co. celebrates the 130th anniversary of the company’s founding today. On July 1, 1883, a young, hard-working German immigrant named Bernard “Barney” Kroger opened his first store in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In this 130th year, Kroger is poised to pass $100 billion in annual sales, provides employment to more than 343,000 associates, is one of the largest retail companies in the world, announced an industry-leading 37 consecutive fiscal quarters of positive identical sales growth and has been named the most generous company in America.

The heritage of exceptional customer service, passionate community service and entrepreneurial innovation established by Barney Kroger continues today. Highlights include:

  • A new strategy beginning in 2013 that will: strongly invest in existing stores, introduce a variety of new store formats, expand market share in existing markets and take Kroger into new markets across the United States.
  • More than $250 million in community support in 2012, including more than 200 million meals to regional food banks

Kroger: An Indiana Staple

Kroger's web site outlines the history of the supermarket chain, describing how Barney Kroger invested his life savings of $372 to open a grocery store in downtown Cincinnati in 1883. The son of a merchant, he ran his business with a simple motto: “Be particular. Never sell anything you would not want yourself.”

Step forward to now, and if you live in Indiana, there's a likely chance you know someone employed by a Kroger store. Here are some numbers and reasons why this supermarket is a pillar in the state's grocery economy:

  • 18,128 – Kroger associates employed in Indiana
  • $13.3 million – in food, cash, foundation grants and sales-based fundraising was distributed in 2012 from Kroger's Central Division
  • 1,940 – jobs in Indiana created over the last seven years
  • 1,630 – contractors employed statewide
  • 146 – food stores with a variety of options
  • 105 – pharmacies
  • 79 – fuel centers
  • 4 – distribution centers (Bluffton, Shelbyville, Seymour and Indianapolis)
  • 4 – manufacturing plants
  • 2 – division headquarters (Seymour and Indianapolis)

Marsh Offers Diabetes Help to Customers

If you’ve ever seen any of your family members or friends suffer from the effects of diabetes, you know just how serious the epidemic is becoming around this country.

Just recently, my family has been dealing with some of the consequences of diabetes – or actually, the consequences of uncontrolled diabetes. A series of medical events led to my grandfather having a quadruple bypass surgery about a month ago. We’re very blessed that he came through the surgery successfully. However the surgeon talked to us about just how thick my grandfather’s heart muscle was due to uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure.

He’s still in the hospital, dealing with lingering effects of other diabetes-related health issues and we’re hoping he’ll be able to come home soon. I’d seen the statistics about what the diabetes epidemic is doing to the country, but this was truly the first time I’ve put a face on the disease. It’s a wake-up call to make sure we’re eating right, exercising and taking care of our health.

While we know the steps to take to help prevent diabetes, those with diabetes need support to help them keep it controlled so they can live longer and healthier lives.

That’s why I’m very happy to see Marsh Supermarkets, Inc. announce the launch of the Marsh Diabetes Care Program®. Marsh pharmacies are now offering seven oral diabetes medications as well as lancets for testing blood sugar for free (with a doctor’s prescription).

That is fantastic news. One of the biggest problems with controlling a disease is the patients’ non-adherence to prescribed medications and drug cost is one of the reasons for that issue. Another important piece to the Marsh plan is the free monitoring kit, newsletter with recipes and tips for managing diabetes, and online and in-store access to a Marsh pharmacist. I also didn’t realize that Marsh shoppers have online access to a full-time registered dietician at [email protected].

Not only is this new offering great news for Hoosiers with diabetes and their families, but it’s also good news for employers who offer health care. The Marsh press release notes that the estimated average annual health care cost for a person with diabetes in the United States exceeds $11,000 – compared with $3,000 in health care costs for a person without diabetes. If the diabetes is well-controlled, employees will be healthier and save money for themselves and their employers.

This is a perfect example of how a business can truly make a positive change in the community.

Information about the program is available at

Seymour Grocer Nourishing Southern Indiana Since 1863

Jay C Food Stores have been serving southern Indiana for many years. In that time, the stores have seen many changes. However, the company’s dedication to serving Seymour and the surrounding community remains unwavered by the winds of time — and the pains of recession. Jay C’s story is one of adaptation, evolution, and ultimately success. Here are some key points of progress, as told by the company:

  • It all began in 1863. John C. Groub, a young Swiss immigrant, made his way to Seymour, Indiana. He sold matches to pay his way from Louisville, Kentucky to Rockford, Indiana.
  • In 1863, John C. Groub opened his first store in a building on South Chestnut Street. The front portion was a grocery store; the back was used for living quarters. 
  • The business grew and Mr. Groub secured a downtown location on West Second Street in 1871.
  • Deliveries by truck started about 1919, and satellite warehouses were established in Mitchell and Connersville.
  • As the number of stores increased, so did the need for more warehouse space, and in 1938 a new two-story warehouse, one-half block in size, was built at the south end of Ewing Street.
  • In the late 1950s, the Jay C leadership made a commitment to teamwork when it made the promise, “As the Company Progresses, So Shall Its People.” At the same time, a cash profit sharing plan was inaugurated. As a result of this team effort, profit sharing has been paid every year since its inception.
  • A new name, and a new kind of store operation became a part of the company during the 1980s-90s.  Four Foods Plus Stores were opened in Bedford, Madison, Columbus, and Seymour.  The concept of these stores involved giving customers a role in creating savings for themselves by bagging their own groceries and taking them to the car. 
  • By the end of the 1990s, Jay C consisted of 25 Jay C Stores, 4 Foods Plus Stores, and 2 Ruler Discount Foods Stores.
  • In August,1999 the John C. Groub Company merged with the Kroger Company, the largest grocery retailer in the United States.
  • The company has prospered as an independent division of the Kroger Company, retaining its name, people, traditions, values, leadership, and products.

Congrats to Jay C, an Indiana Chamber member, for so many years of success — and thanks for showing other Indiana businesses what can be accomplished with determination and forward thinking.