Martin’s Super Markets announced Friday that its former CEO and longtime chairman Robert Eugene “Bob” Bartels passed away July 17 at age 78.
He was a former chairman of the Food Marketing Institute.
Bartels’ wife Nancy was the daughter of company founders Jane (Cary) and Martin Tarnow. Bartels served the South Bend, Ind.-based retailer for 51 years, was CEO beginning in 1973, and had served as chairman since 2005. He is survived by a daughter Amy Jo Stoll; son Rob Bartels, who serves as Martin’s current CEO; seven grandchildren and two sisters-in-law.
Bartels attended DeKalb High School and Purdue University, where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering in 1959. He joined General Electric and served in assignments in various East Coast cities before joining Martin's in 1964.
Under his leadership, the company grew from a "mom and pop" business into a fully functioning corporation. The company added 19 new stores, relocated six, and completed countless updates and remodeling projects under his watch. He also oversaw the introductions of many of the company's most popular features, such as Side Door Deli Cafes, Starbucks Coffee kiosks, catering and more. Martin’s Super Markets was founded in 1947 and currently has 22 stores in Indiana and Michigan.
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