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One Of The Oldest Grocers

January 31, 2013

Roundy’s Supermarket, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest grocers. It was founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1872 and still has its headquarters there. This retail grocery company serves customers all over Wisconsin, through Minneapolis/St. Paul and in the greater Chicago area.

The company has sales of almost $ 4 billion annually and has more than 18,000 employees.  Roundy’s has 159 retail grocery stores and 97 pharmacies under retail banners of Mariano’s Fresh Market, Copps, Metro Market, Pick ‘n Save and Rainbow.

Before getting into retail it started off as a wholesale grocery company.  Judson A. Roundy and two partners Sidney Hauxhurst and William A. Smith were the company founders.  By 1922 it began offering its own private Roundy’s brand. Then in 1953 the company reorganized as a grocery cooperative. Only independent retailers could hold Roundy’s stock.

The company was using rail sidings and more than 40 truck loading docks in the early 1970s. At that time it was moving more than 5,000 tons of merchandise a week.  Roundy’s was pioneering in the warehouse store concept opening Pick ‘n Save Warehouse Foods in March 1975. The main draw was low the prices and the store itself was bare except for the goods sold. This proved to be very successful drawing many customers. Roundy’s opened more warehouse stores and other grocers soon followed.

While focusing more on wholesale distribution the company eventually moved to retail as well and expanded this business starting 1999. Part of its expansion strategy was buying other grocery outfits.  In 2002 Roundy’s was acquired by Chicago investment firm Willis Stein & Partners.  The company is now publicly traded and listed in the New York Stock Exchange.

Since its founding the company had seen ownership changes as well as organizational changes. It has somehow retained its identity and is now a multibillion dollar enterprise.

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