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Dillons is a grocery supermarket chain based in Hutchinson, Kansas, and is a division of The Kroger Company. Other banners under Dillon Stores Division include Gerbes in Missouri, Baker's in Omaha, Nebraska, and a Food 4 Less store in Fremont, Nebraska. Dillons operates grocery stores throughout Kansas with major influences in the Wichita metropolitan area, Topeka, Kansas, metropolitan area, and the Lawrence, Kansas, area.
Dillons operates a dry grocery warehouse in Goddard, Kansas, in addition to frozen foods and perishable warehouses in Hutchinson. A bakery manufacturing plant and dairy are also in Hutchinson. The dairy produces cultured dairy products and private-label milk for all Dillons stores. Dillons previously operated (until the late 1990s) dry grocery warehouses in Hutchinson and Lenexa, Kansas.
After his initial venture in selling groceries at his general store in Sterling, Kansas, in the 1890s, Jonathan S. Dillon opened his first J.S. Dillon Cash Food Market in Hutchinson, Kansas, in 1913.
After several decades of steadily building the chain, a burst of growth began in 1957, when John's son, Raymond, expanded with additional stores in the Wichita market when, in September 1957, Kroger sold off its Wichita, Kansas, store division, then consisting of 16 stores. By 1968, J.S. Dillon and Sons had grown into Dillon Companies, Inc., and began acquiring regional banners, such as City Market, Fry's, Gerbes, and King Soopers, over 300 convenience stores in five states, and Jackson's Ice Cream dairy. Dillon Companies, Inc., joined the Kroger company in 1983 and brought with it two future CEOs: Joe Pichler, who served as CEO of Kroger from 1990 to 2003, and Kroger's former CEO, Dave Dillon. Dave is the great grandson of J. S. Dillon.
Today, more than 12,000 employees work at 93 stores in the Dillon Stores Division, which includes 26 stores in Wichita, Kansas, area; 11 stores in the Omaha, Nebraska, area; nine stores in Topeka, Kansas; and 24 fuel centers. The format for most locations is the traditional combination of food, general merchandise, and pharmacy, with an average of 49,000 square feet per store. The division offers Dillons Marketplace stores in Kansas, located in Wichita, Andover, Derby, and Hutchinson.
In 1983, Dillon Companies, Inc., was acquired by The Kroger Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, creating a nationwide grocery chain. Several years later, David Dillon was named Kroger's President and COO and became CEO in 2003. Dillon retired from that position effective January 1, 2014.
In 2013, Dillons opened its fifth Marketplace in its hometown of Hutchinson, at corner of 30th and Waldron Avenue; it is the largest store in the company.
Frank J. Gerbes founded Gerbes Super Markets, Inc. in Tipton, Missouri in 1933. In the following years, he would build multiple buildings which housed its stores and offices. In 1959, a profit sharing and pension trust plan was introduced to all employees by Mr. and Mrs. Gerbes, which was the first in central Missouri.