Kroger Is Older Than You Thought

The odds are good that, even if you've yet to step foot inside a Kroger grocery store, it's likely that you've heard about this notable store. Kroger is arguably one of the most recognizable grocery chains across the country. But even if you've yet to step inside a Kroger proper, you've most likely been inside a few of its stores without realizing it. Kroger actually owns a wide variety of other regional grocery stores, including Dillons, King Soopers, Ralph's, Quality Food Centers, and Smith's Food and Drug. Honestly, it would be more difficult to have not stepped into a Kroger or Kroger-owned store.

With nearly 2,800 stores operating across the United States, Kroger's once humble beginnings in 1883 Ohio have now transformed this grocery giant into one of the most profitable and largest retailers in the world (via Kroger). That's right, Kroger has been around for 138 years, ever since it first opened its doors to the people of Cincinnati to provide low prices and plenty of merchandise.

138 years of Kroger grocery bliss

At the tender age of 20, founder Bernard Henry Kroger, the son of German immigrants, was inspired to start his own business. Even after he saw his father Johan Kroger's dry goods store fail during the financial crisis of 1873, Kroger forged ahead. According to Immigrant Entrepreneurship, with only a life savings of $372, he invested in his dreams and opened the first Kroger grocery store in 1883. And, boy, did the risk pay off!

Although Kroger was a set grocery store chain with 40 locations by 1902 (via Ohio History Central), its origins trace back to the Great Western Tea Company, Kroger's first endeavor in business ownership with a partner B.A. Branagan. Yet, Kroger had soon bought out his partner, changed the company name, and gone on to establish his business as the first grocery chain with a dedicated bakery (via Britannica).

Today, Kroger is among one of the most preferred grocery stores in the country, ranking just above Trader Joe's, according to YouGov. Kroger is not only the go-to store for many, but also has a story linked to the American story itself in all manner of ways. One Kentucky Kroger location even has a surprising tie to the Kentucky Derby. We're willing to bet that you didn't know Kroger had such a share of history!