February 22, 2023
On February 22nd, we celebrate Supermarket Employee Day. A day when the food industry recognizes supermarket employees at every level for their work to feed their communities. Millions of supermarket employees come to work daily to keep shelves stocked and provide their customers with essential services.
In honor of Supermarket Employee Day, we’re sharing ten moments in the history of supermarkets and grocery stores that changed how we shop for food. The next time you do your weekly grocery haul or run in to grab that one missing ingredient, remember to thank the friendly faces you see making it all possible!
1915: Vincent Astor opened Astor Market on the Upper West Side in New York City, the first attempt at an all-in-one marketplace.
1916: Piggy Wiggly became the first self-service grocery store. Previously, grocery shoppers handed over a list of items and the store clerk brought the products to them.
1924: Ye Market Place in Glendale, California introduced the drive-in market. Ye Market had 23 separate stores built in a U-shape, with a parking lot in the center. This was the beginning of customers embracing department-orientated shopping.
1930: The first supermarket, King Kullen, was opened in Queens, NY by Michael Cullen.
1937: The shopping cart was invented by Sylvan Goldman, the owner of the Humpty Dumpty supermarkets.
1939: Joseph Mutolo became the first retailer to redeem food stamps as part of the First Food Stamp Program.
1946: A&P Supermarkets introduced the store-within-a-store concept by adding in-store bakery shops.
1958: Kroger introduces a service deli, bakery, and barbecue shop at a store in Detroit under the name, The Continental Counter.
1962: Giant Food became the first supermarket with an in-store pharmacy.
1974: The first product was scanned in a supermarket --- a pack of gum at Marsh Supermarkets in Troy, Ohio.