One of the biggest and most popular, grocery store chains in America is Kroger. Maybe you’ve heard of it? With nearly 3000 stores in 30 states, Kroger is a nation-wide phenomenon. A company as big as Kroger doesn’t make it through over 100 years of business without building up a repertoire of interesting stories and fun trivia tidbits along the way. Even if you’re a big fan of the supermarket giant, some of these facts may have flown under your radar until now. Here are the top ten untold truths of your favorite grocery store.
10. Meet Barney Kroger
You’ve probably never thought about it, but if we gave you a couple guesses, you’d probably be able to guess that Kroger gets its name from its founder. Before founding what was to become America’s 18th largest company, Barney Kroger was an employee at The Imperial Tea Co. An ambitious man, he aspired to become a partner. When he was refused, he decided to make it on his own. He gave his two weeks (or whatever the protocol was back in those days) and, with only $372 to his name, started his own grocery store. When it opened in the early 1880s, the first Kroger was based out of Cincinnati Ohio, and called The Great Western Tea Co. After about twenty years, the name was changed to Kroger Grocery and Baking Co. Kroger was one of the first stores to become a one-stop-shop for all your food and household needs. It’s in part thanks to Barney Kroger’s innovation that grocery stores as we know them came to be. Throughout the twentieth century, Kroger’s company continued to grow, until it became the supermarket giant we know today. Barney Kroger sold his shares in the company in the late 1920s, and passed away just a decade later, so he never got to see just how big the Kroger Company eventually got. He’d probably be blown away by it. Let Barney Kroger be an inspiration for you – he refused to settle and took a major risk instead, and look at how it paid off for him!
9. Clearance Products
If you’re looking to save big on your groceries, check out Kroger’s clearance section. There are a ton of great deals waiting for you, you just have to know where to look. Most grocery stores will display their clearance products at right in the front, so you see them as you walk in, but that’s not the case with Kroger. These items are usually stocked at the back of the store, making them easy to miss. The supermarket isn’t really looking to turn a profit on their clearance items – many of them are sold at just a few cents above cost! Taking a few extra minutes to browse the clearance rack is a great way to save a few bucks at Kroger’s. Groceries can get pretty expensive, and those savings can really add up over time. Every little bit helps. It sounds too good to be true, right? You’re probably thinking that you’re going to go to the clearance section and all you’ll find is a moldy cantaloupe and some expired Doritos. But don’t forget, Kroger didn’t get to be America’s favorite grocery store by selling subpar products. So, you can be sure that even the products in the clearance section will be of good quality. Next time you do your groceries at Kroger, start shopping at the back of the store – you never know what deals you’ll find! This is probably the most useful piece of information we could give you about shopping at Kroger’s, so, much like the clearance items, don’t let this knowledge go to waste!
8. No More Senior Discounts
Kroger’s senior discounts vary from location to location. Some locations offer five to ten percent discounts once a month, while others have “Senior Tuesdays” or “Wednesdays”, where shoppers over the age of 60 can buy their groceries at a discounted fee. Regardless of the details of the discount, this senior pricing is something Kroger has become known for and is obviously a big draw for those who qualify for these savings. That’s what made this news so upsetting to many. Nearly 200 Kroger locations in Georgia, South Carolina, and Eastern Alabama did away with their weekly five percent senior discounts. This has become a bit of a trend for Kroger, with many of the supermarkets reducing their discounts or getting rid of them entirely. Remember when coupons ruled the grocery shopping experience? Not so much anymore. While the company has tried not to make a big deal about the cuts, people have noticed, and they aren’t too happy about it. However, to be fair to Kroger, the Georgia, South Carolina, and Eastern Alabama locations that dropped the senior discount also lowered prices on many of their items, so shoppers can still save on the produce.
7. Even Warren Buffett Shops There
Kroger is popular among people from all walks of life, even Warren Buffett (yes, that Warren Buffett). He recently became one of the largest shareholders in the company, after purchasing over half a billion dollars’ worth of shares. You may think your grocery bill is high, but we bet you’ve never spent that much at Kroger. This was a pretty classic investment move for Buffet, who now owns just over two percent of the company. This puts Kroger’s on the shortlist of food-based stocks Buffet invests in. Coca-Cola and Kraft Heinz, being among the others of which Buffet also has stakes in. It totally counts as a celebrity endorsement, right? Or maybe even better, a man known for smart investing is literally willing to put his money where his mouth is when it comes to the quality of your stores. This definitely comes as good news for Kroger, and acts as a testament to the company’s popularity and reliability. Thanks to its fair-pricing and quality products, Kroger keeps customers coming back time and time again.
6. The First Supermarket Surrounded by Parking Lots
Here’s something you probably didn’t know about Kroger, possibly because you don’t actually care. But, for any trivia buffs out there, this fun fact is an absolute gem. We’ve established that Kroger is a pretty ground-breaking company. But one of its many innovations often goes overlooked. Apparently, it was the first grocery store to be completely surrounded by parking lots. Take notes; that’s a potential Jeopardy question right there. Seeing malls, restaurants, and grocery completely surrounded by parking lots is the norm these days, but that wasn’t always the case. As a general rule, parking lots suck, but this layout is mildly less terrible. Seeing a parking lot that surrounds the store is usually a good sign because it tends to mean that the store has maximized its parking space and you’ll actually be able to find somewhere to park your car, and it won’t be half a mile away from the store itself. The next time you’re able to find a parking spot at a crowded store, know that you may have Kroger to thank for all those extra spaces.
5. Kitchen 1883
If you’re a fan of Kroger and living in Cincinnati, Ohio (the birthplace of Kroger) or Union, Kentucky, you’re in luck! These are the homes to the two locations of the Kroger owned restaurant, Kitchen 1883. Named for the year of Kroger’s founding, this restaurant is known for its fantastic burgers, decadent chicken and waffles, and delicious cocktails. Serving brunch, lunch, and dinner, you’re sure to be met with an incredible spread at any time of day. Take a few minutes to browse their online menu – the pictures alone will have you drooling. Kitchen 1883’s original Cincinnati location was such a hit, that they opened their second restaurant a few states over. We’re hoping that this isn’t the end of the restaurant’s expansion and that we’ll soon be able to dine at Kitchen 1883 in locations all over the country. This restaurant specializes in comfort food and serves something for everyone. They even offer catering and take-out services, making them a great choice for any occasion. Not many people realize that this restaurant has any association with Kroger, so hopefully, this brings it to your attention and inspires you to go check it out!
4. Working Towards a Sustainable Future
One of the reasons we love Kroger so much is for their endless dedication to sustainability. They pride themselves on their cage-free eggs, recycling initiatives, sustainably sourced seafood (how’s that for a tongue twister?), and their major reduction in greenhouse gas production. As such a massive corporation, Kroger recognizes that it can have a tremendous impact on the environment, for better or for worse. We fully respect their decision to use their power for good, and the efforts they’ve made to transition to a waste-free, sustainable company. They’re also big promotors of organic food, and actually own their own organic brand, called Simple Truth Organic. Simple Truth Organic is ridiculously popular, showing that people across American also value organic produce. In one year, the Simple Truth Organic brand makes more sales that many American grocery store chains! It’s good to see a supermarket as big as Kroger care about where our food comes from. They’re setting a great example, and we hope that other supermarkets start to follow in their footsteps. It definitely makes us feel good about our decision to shop at Kroger.
3. Bet You Didn’t Know That was Kroger
The Kroger Company isn’t just Kroger. It owns a mind-blowing number of other stores and brands, many of which have nothing to do with food! Interestingly enough, Kroger isn’t the only grocery store owned by Kroger. The company’s empire also includes stores like Ralph’s, Fry’s, King Sooper’s, and many, many more. Outside of supermarkets, Kroger is the proud owner of Murray’s Cheese, a popular cheese shop in New York. Since purchasing the business, Kroger has begun selling Murray’s Cheese in some of their locations, which is fantastic news for those of us who don’t live nearby the original Murray’s Cheese, as it gives us access to some of the best cheese in America. Kroger also has a massive private label network, owning a whopping 37 production plants across the country. Some brand names you might recognize are Banner Brands, Heritage Farm, Private Selection, and Simple Truth Organic. They really don’t box themselves in, as they have money in the bakeries, and the dairy, meat, and beverage industries, among others. One of the more surprising things about Kroger is that they have a fine jewelry division. Yep, you heard that right. As the owners of Littman Jewelers Fred Meyer Jewelers, Kroger actually operates over 320 jewelry stores in 30 states! These jewelry stores can be found in many malls (as one would expect), but also in many Kroger-owned supermarkets. You know, in case you want some bling to go with your carrots.
2. Oh, Deer
We’ve said it before, Kroger is incredibly popular. Apparently, its fans aren’t limited to human beings. If this incident is any indication, it seems like wildlife also enjoys the fresh produce. No one’s really sure exactly how this event came to be but, one day, at a Kroger in Indiana, shoppers were interrupted by an unexpected visit from a deer. The animal, which was clearly as confused about the entire situation as shoppers were, sprinted through the supermarket’s aisles and launched itself over the meat counter. It didn’t quite clear it, and seemed to get stuck for a moment or two, but, fueled by desperation to get the heck out of the meat section (that had to be traumatizing for the poor thing), the deer managed to recover and continue its rampage through the store. The deer was chased up and down aisles by employees, and one witness claimed that it seemed to have sustained injuries from running into shelves. In the end, the deer found its way to the exit, leaving behind a group of customers trying to figure out what just happened. Hopefully, the deer recovered from its minor injuries, as well as from the shock. The store’s manager confirmed the incident and quipped that they hope that “in her time near the meat case, the deer noticed our expanded selection of plant-based protein products.” The whole thing was caught on video, in case you need to see it to believe it.
1. America’s Favorite Supermarket
Maybe this one doesn’t really count as an untold truth. Really, we’ve all known it all along, haven’t we? But, in case you wanted to see the cold, hard stats, a survey conducted in 2017 showed that Kroger was voted as the best grocery store in America. Obviously, this is a matter of opinion. Maybe you’re Team Costco or Team Publix. And that’s totally fair. But there are a whole lot of people on Team Kroger, and they’re not afraid to show it. There are a lot of reasons why Kroger got voted to the top spot in this survey, many of which have already been covered in this list. It also doesn’t hurt that the grocery store has almost three-thousand locations, which can be found in thirty-five states, plus Washington D.C., and is therefore super accessible to a large portion of the population. From humble origins to incredible success, Kroger has come a long way. Barney Kroger started the first store with his life savings of $372 (to be fair, this is in 1883 dollars), and now Kroger rakes in approximately 110 billion dollars a year! Talk about the American dream. And, clearly, since Kroger has been dubbed the best grocery store in America, the supermarket’s success is well-deserved.