Dillons celebrates 100th anniversary Thursday


HUTCHINSON (KSNW) — Dillons is celebrating 100 years of providing groceries to Kansas. It was on May 13, 1921, Dillons was officially incorporated.

The company says it all began with John.S. Dillon looking for a better way to provide food for his family of 12. He started selling groceries at his general store in Sterling in the early 1900s. He opened the area’s first Cash Food Market in Hutchinson in 1913.

By 1915, he opened a second store, placing one of his son’s in charge of the original store. When his sons went off to serve during World War I, Dillon sold his interest to his business partners.

J.S. Dillon & Sons began using refrigerated trucks in the 1940s, some of the first in the country. The fleet of over 24 trucks, 11 semi-trailer units and 13 straight trucks serviced all the J.S. Dillon & Sons stores. (Courtesy Dillons)

After the war, J.S. Dillon and Sons Store Co opened and was incorporated in 1921. By the end of the 1920s, the company had grown to 15 stores in 10 Kansas communities. The chain grew and expanded into the Wichita market in 1957.

By 1968, the company was known as Dillon Companies, Inc. It began acquiring regional banners across the western and central states, like King Soopers, City Market, Fry’s, and Gerbes, over 300 convenience stores in five states, and Jackson’s Ice Cream dairy.

Dillon Companies, Inc. merged with The Kroger Co. in 1983 and became a coast-to-coast operator of food, drug, and convenience stores.

“Dillons Food Stores has been providing high-quality food products for families, creating jobs, and investing in our communities for a century – the company is a Kansas institution,” Governor Laura Kelly said in a statement. “I offer my congratulations to Dillons on its 100th anniversary. Here’s to 100 more years, and beyond.”

Visit Dillons.com/100years for more information, photos and a video.

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