Loblaw’s story started in 1919, when Theodore P. Loblaw and J.M. Cork opened their first Loblaw Groceterias in the area of Toronto. They put up the store and implemented a new retail concept that they developed that combined cash-and-carry and self-service.
At the Loblaw groceteria, customers did not have to wait for a clerk to get their orders from behind the store’s counters. Initially, many in the industry were skeptical about the store’s concept. However, they were soon proven wrong, as sales started to rise and more and more customers were warming to the idea along with very good quality products at very reasonable prices.
Soon, another grocer from Toronto, Charles Shields, joined the partnership of Cork and Loblaw. In ten years’ time, Loblaw grocery stores increased considerably, reaching more than 70 stores all over Toronto. In 1928, Loblaws grocery stores, expanded out of Toronto and into U.S. states like New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania. In the same period, Loblaws completed its new headquarters, complete with a warehouse facility, located at Fleet & Bathurst Streets in Toronto. This new warehouse was equipped with modern equipment, like a giant oven and an electric tram railway. For the company’s employees, the new headquarters also had an auditorium and bowling lanes.
In 1933, there were more than a hundred Loblaws Groceteria operating, with 150 of these stores located in Ontario and the rest in the United States. In 1947, George Weston Ltd., acquired 100,000 shares of Loblaw stock. Weston was able to buy the stock from JM Cork who offered to sell his stake. By the 1950s, George Weston Ltd., had controlling shares of the Loblaw stores.
In 1949, Loblaw Groceterias once again led the way in introducing innovations to the retail industry when it started using its “healthfully-cool equipped air-conditioning.” The new air conditioners were used in most of Loblaws new supermarkets. Loblaws also introduced doors that opened automatically for shoppers.
Today, Loblaw supermarkets are still one of the leaders in food retail in the whole of Canada. It continues to support innovations in the supermarket industry for the benefit of all consumers.
Headquarters: Brampton, Ontario
Ownership Type: Private
Employees: Information not available
Geography: Canada and USA
Demography: Retail products Consumers