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Chicago Map on By 1893, Kroger owned 17 466 Kroger stores, all of which showed substantial profits in that depression year. Kroger saw an opportunity to increase his income by manufacturing the products that he sold (today, a common practice known as private label), as a well as a chance to improve the quality of his groceries. In 1901, he became the first grocer to operate a bakery. In the following year, the firm incorporated as The Kroger Grocery and Baking Company with 40 stores and $1.75 million in annual sales. In this era, customers typically bought meat only at butcher shops, but in 1904, Kroger bought a meatpacking house and a butcher chain to begin selling both meat and groceries under one roof. The move brought much opposition from butchers who had been accustomed to a considerable amount of independence in setting their own working conditions and their own prices, often perhaps with the aid of a thumb on the scale. Chicago Map 2016.

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