insisted that the company he founded, and the American economy in general, would endure the crash of 1929.

Kroger's family lived above the dry goods store his parents owned. Despite an unbounded willingness to work, the new businessmen quickly found their resolve tested.Disaster first struck while Branagan made a delivery run in the store’s brand new wagon. After securing Dayton in a matter of months, B.H. [40] B. Kroger Scrapbook and Manuscript Collection (CHS). [16] MSSVF 4281, Albert Remke, letter to Bernard Kroger, March 29, 1903 (CHS). [19] “Kroger’s Peculiar Ways,” B. Kroger Scrapbook, MSS 63 (CHS). The Wesco Food Company was subsequently established and served as Kroger's own official inspection service, lending formality and seriousness to the project. Kroger is a lot older than most people probably realize. While Kroger acknowledged his own cutthroat mentality, he also displayed a fondness for his customers and for Cincinnatians in general. launched his philanthropic efforts in 1903, when he paid for 5,000 school children to be admitted to Cincinnati’s Coney Island, a theme park located outside of the city. 2, February-March, 1937. [10] Kroger’s years as a deliveryman in Over-the-Rhine meant that he was familiar with the streets and marketplaces of the German neighborhood, and this gave him a practical entry point. Johann Heinrich August Krüger (1849-1884). As mail-order catalogs grew in popularity, Kroger placed his specialized circulars in publications bound for regional markets and remote locations such as Appalachia, allowing potential customers to enjoy the Kroger experience without ever having to walk into a store. During a bank crisis in 1933, he converted $15 million of his savings into cash and displayed it at the bank to demonstrate the financial soundness of the bank, averting the crisis locally.

In a story entitled “Kroger’s Peculiar Ways,” one local newspaper reported that the newly managed stores were, “showing evidence of the Cincinnati man’s famous cutthroat methods.” The writer went on to explain, “The cut prices are displayed in letters and figures which scream.”[19] It was clear that Kroger intended to seize the Dayton market by employing the same aggressive advertising and wholesale buying strategies that had proved so successful in Cincinnati. This lead to what the press called “the Bread War.”. Geni requires JavaScript! At the time, Kroger’s optimism and financial support offered buoyancy to a sinking ship; still, it is worth remembering that Kroger’s own confidence had been somewhat bolstered when, at the age of sixty-eight (and less than a year before the onset of the Great Depression), he sold his interest in the Kroger Company and increased his private wealth immensely while avoiding any personal loss. Bernard married Katharina Heitmann. In-house production in combination with wholesale buying practices increased efficiency, integrated the “middle-man” into the overall business strategy, and led to further price reductions. B.H. For more on Boss Cox, see, Zane L. Miller, Boss Cox’s Cincinnati: Urban Politics in the Progressive Era (1968; reprint, Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 2000). If so, login to add it. He then honeymooned with his 36-year-old bride, gave each of his seven children $1-million, and retired to Cape Cod. Like many Westphalians, the Schlebbes seem to have been drawn to America by the reports of friends and family who had already emigrated – in their case, by former neighbors who sent letters describing their successes in America. On the eve of World War I, Carl G. Voigt, an “importer-exporter” magnate from Hamburg, Germany, held a meeting with Kroger to discuss business prospects in light of growing international disputes. Adding the correct gender will correct a database error.

Dobbert, “The Cincinnati Germans, 1870-1920,” 240.

discoveries. He quit his first job in a drug store because his Christian mother objected to his working Sundays. Mary Gertrude Kroger (née Schlebbe), Bernard’s mother, was born in Elve, a tiny village in Westphalia. The Hamilton County Republican delegation urged him to campaign, writing, “We believe that the people of Ohio this year demand a candidate for Governor who is not a politician but a businessman.”[24] Though he ultimately chose not to run, Kroger nonetheless combined his financial and political interests as world affairs threatened to obstruct economic growth. 1860 - 1863. For many, in a time of economic depression, Kroger represented a uniquely American brand of self-made prosperity, and he served as an example for other second- and third-generation German immigrants in Cincinnati. Though Kroger would go on to establish one of America’s largest and most successful grocery store chains, his family’s first venture into the retail business – Johan Kroger’s dry goods store –ended in failure. Kroger then began working as a door to door salesman for the Great Northern and Pacific Tea Co., eventually ending up at the Imperial Tea Co. 1856 () was a leap year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar, the 1856th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 856th year of the 2nd millennium, the 56th year of the 19th century, and the 7th year of the 1850s decade. Kroger was born in the American Midwest on the eve of the U.S. Civil War. Dobbert examined the formation of immigrant identity, which, as he noted, underwent “erosion by rapid assimilation” by the time the second generation was born. Kroger also invested in the creation of Provident Bank, selling his holdings in the bank in 1928, shortly before the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

He later worked as a grocery clerk and was quickly promoted to store manager, but when sales increased he was not given the raise he felt he deserved, so he quit.

Two years later, after recognizing the efficacy of self-efficiency, Kroger purchased the Nagel chain of meat and deli operations in Cincinnati, along with several local meat packinghouses. [3], In later accounts, Bernard described his mother in reverent tones as a strict disciplinarian who was responsible both for the initial success of the family store and for instilling a sense of discipline in her children. Although I was but fourteen and weighed only one hundred pounds, my job on the farm was that of any man. Their arrival, however, was marked by disappointment, since land speculators had already purchased nearly all of the usable farmland in Minster, leaving only low-level swamps and impenetrable forests.

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