How King Soopers Became Colorado’s Largest Grocery Chain
How many times have you been shopping at King Soopers? Having grown up in Loveland, I have been into their stores well over 10,000 times.
The grocery chain that has conquered Colorado with more than 150 stores actually does have some humble beginnings.
It all started in Arvada, Colorado, in 1947 when a former Navy sailor got out of the service and decided to open a store.
Lloyd King opened his first store in 1947 at the spot where the Arvada Library now lies. This makes King Soopers older than Safeway, which opened its first store in Alaska in 1959.
The "King" portion of the name clearly came from Lloyd's last name. According to CPR, the 'Soopers' part seems to have come from the Archie Comics, which one of Lloyd's sons was a fan of. Archie and the gang would sometimes exclaim 'Sooper!', so Lloyd included the exclamation in his brand.
In 1952, Lloyd's store was the very first in the country to have a pharmacy inside of it. Can you imagine any modern grocery store not having a pharmacy? But the trend had to start somewhere, and it started in a Colorado King Soopers.
But Lloyd King was a trailblazer in many ways, including the following:
- First in Colorado to have a self-service meat department.
- First grocer in Denver to offer postage stamps (1951)
After having built up his chain of stores to 5 (or 9, depending on who you ask), the business that Lloyd started was bought by Dillon Companies in 1957.
Dillon Companies had established themselves across the county with what you would call convenience stores - called 'cash and carry' at the time. In 1987, Dillon and Kroeger merged into the King Soopers/City Markets we know today.
Lloyd King, who was a member of the Colorado Business Hall of Fame, passed away in 1998. There's little information about Charles Houchens, who helped start King Soopers and was a Vice President of the company.
You can get more on King Soopers' history from their Facebook page.
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