Barney Kroger was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1860. As a young man, he embarked on a career in grocery sales, establishing the Great Western Tea Company in 1883. This business eventually became the first of many stores that operated under the Kroger name. Kroger renamed his stores after himself in 1902, when he formally established the Kroger Grocery and Baking Company. By this point, Kroger owned forty stores and had sold 1.75 million dollars worth of merchandise in the previous year alone. Further attracting customers, Kroger established a bakery to provide his clients with the freshest possible baked goods.
During the nineteenth century, customers ordered the food that they wanted, and the grocers then delivered the items to their clients' homes. Kroger also followed this policy, and in 1913, the company began delivering groceries with Model T trucks instead of with horse-drawn wagons. The company introduced another innovation in 1916 with the beginnings of self-service shopping. Like today, customers went to the grocery store, chose their own merchandise, and brought it home themselves. Many customers appreciated having the opportunity to select their own items. Other stores quickly adopted Kroger's innovation. By the time of Barney Kroger's death in 1930, the Kroger Grocery and Baking Company was very prosperous and consisted of almost six thousand stores.
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