This Day in Business History: “America’s First Supermarket” King Kullen Opens

August 4, 1930: When Michael J. Cullen suggested to the management of Kroger, his employer at the time, that they reinvent food stores by creating larger mostly self-service stores with low prices and more parking, they ignored him. He left his job at Kroger as General Sales Manager for 94 Illinois stores, and opened “America’s First Supermarket” King Kullen in a large garage in Jamaica (Queens), New York. The original location remained open for 80 years, while 32 locations still remain open in Long Island.

King Kullen revolutionized food shopping in the U.S., as many of his competitors, including Kroger, would adopt the supermarket model. In addition, King Kullen proved to be a leader in employee relations by providing insurance, vacation time, and pay raises to employees as early as the late 1930’s. King Kullen is still family owned and operated.

Sources: Wikipedia, King Kullen company website