Hannaford's Roots Are in Produce, Wholesaling

The core strengths of Hannaford Bros. today can be traced back to the company’s early days as a wholesaler of produce, when it earned a reputation for demanding high-quality product from suppliers and hard work from employees.

The core strengths of Hannaford Bros. today can be traced back to the company’s early days as a wholesaler of produce, when it earned a reputation for demanding high-quality product from suppliers and hard work from employees.

Most of the following was taken from a company history provided by Hannaford:

1883 — Arthur Hannaford began taking cartloads of fresh vegetables from his family’s farm in Cape Elizabeth to the Portland, Maine, waterfront.

1894 — After opening a produce warehouse in Portland, Arthur and his brother, Howard, expanded the business and were soon joined by a third brother, Edward.

1906 — After Arthur left the company — which had begun selling poultry, butter and eggs in addition to produce — Edward was named president.

1927 — Hired several employees from grocery wholesaler D.W. True Co., which had gone out of business, and added a grocery wholesale component to its own business.

1935 — Joined the Clover Farm Group, a national network of independent grocers.

1938 — Acquired H.S. Melcher Co., a wholesale grocer connected with the Red & White Stores in Maine. Stewart Taylor, Edward Hannaford’s longtime protege, was named to succeed him as president.

1940 — Combined the Clover Farm and Red & White groups under the Red & White label.

1944 — Began financing the opening of new stores for its customers, which provided a foundation for future growth.

1955 — Merged with T.R. Savage Co., a wholesaler based in Bangor, Maine.

1960 — Walter Wittier named president to succeed Taylor. The company built a 200,000-square-foot distribution center in South Portland, Maine. It had 126 customers.

1961 — Expanded equity partnerships with retailers throughout Maine.

1966 — Acquired Sampson’s, a 31-store supermarket operator in Maine.

1967 — Acquired Progressive Distributors, Winthrop, Maine.

1971 — Went public with 59 supermarkets in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont and 43 wholesale accounts. Net income topped $1 million. James Moody was named president.

1984 — Moody named chairman and chief executive officer; Hugh Farrington became president. The company opened its first Super Shop ’n Save combination supermarket and pharmacy.

1987 — Sales hit $1 billion as the company expanded into New York and Massachusetts.

1991 — Acquired Alexander’s, an 11-store chain in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

1994 — Acquired the 20-store Wilson’s Supermarkets chain in an effort to expand into the Carolinas; added several more stores in North and South Carolina and Virginia over the next 18 months.

1995 — The company chose the Hannaford name for its private label and the Hannaford Food & Drug name for its stores in the Southeast and its new stores in the Northeast.

1996 — Began testing a Web-based delivery service in Boston called Home Runs.

1999 — Delhaize unveiled plans to acquire Hannaford for $3.6 billion.

2000 — Ron Hodge, who oversaw expansion in upstate New York, was named president. He became CEO the following year.

2004 — Acquired 19-store Victory Supermarkets in Massachusetts and New Hampshire for $175 million.