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The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company was not the first chain retail store, nor did it invent the concept of the supermarket. A&P did not develop any new business strategies nor did they employ a single technique that hadn’t been used previously by others in some form or fashion. They were, however, able to find wild success in the transformation of the process and efficiency of food distribution in Depression-era America and afterwards. The changes A&P subsequently made to our food distribution system set the stage for it to become the largest retailer in the world between the years of 1915 and 1960. A&P recognized that the nation’s reliance on small, independent grocers was not effective since it was primarily based off high price margins and low volumes of stock. Consumers did indeed benefit from the changes A&P integrated into the modern shopping experience, but heated debate did ignite among small business owners and politicians the country over. It would seem that the Great A&P itself had undercut local, independent butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers in order to unite and profit from the retail conglomerate that it had envisioned. Although A&P didn’t actually cause these problems, it certainly took the heat for them, and Levinson does an ample job of illustrating how A&P’s triumphs put the organization center stage over the possibilities of corporate monopolization meant for the livelihood of small business owners nationwide. George Gilman, in the 1860s in New York City, differentiated his leather goods business into beverage and tea sales. ...Show more
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Modern grocery shopping is usually characterized by a readily available variety of goods, items ranging from the fat-free to the organically grown, with an abundance of different pricing points. However, things were not always this way. …
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