JayC Food Stores
|Type||Division of Kroger|
|Number of locations||36|
|Products||Bakery, dairy, deli, frozen foods, general grocery, meat, pharmacy, produce, seafood, snacks, liquor|
JayC was founded in 1862 by Swiss immigrant Jonathan Groub, who with his wife Elizabeth opened the chain's first store on South Chestnut Street in the city of Seymour. The success of the business allowed them to move to larger premises in 1871 and add a wholesale department. Profits by 1885 had reached US$80,000.
John Groub died in 1888, passing the management of the company to his son Theodore and his son-in-law William Masters, an experienced grocer. Theodore later handed the running of the company to his sons Thomas and John.
The company's grocery wholesale business waned in the 1910s and 1920s, prompting the company to concentrate more on retail. Under the name of Jay C Food Store of Scottsburg, adopted in 1927, the company grew to a peak of 44 retail locations in the 1940s. From the 1960s to the 1980s, JayC reduced the number of locations it operated and expanded the size of those it kept to offer a wider selection of foods. By 1994, JayC had 900 employees, and by 1997 had grown to more than 2,700, making it the largest private retail employer in Indiana. By the end of 1998 the company operated 30 stores, including three Foods Plus locations and three Ruler store locations (JayC's discount banner).
In January 1999, the John C. Groub Co. was acquired by Kroger, which continues to operate 31 JayC locations. The Foods Plus stores have been renamed to JayC Plus.
Under the ownership of Kroger, the JayC division grew its Ruler Foods brand to 13 stores at the end of 2012, including the first store outside of Indiana. Some of the added Ruler Foods were conversions from the JayC brand, which has 23 stores at the end of 2012.
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