Michael J. Cullen was born in Newark, New Jersey back in 1884 to Irish immigrants. He worked for The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company in 1902 for 17 years. In 1919, he worked for Kroger Stores until 1930. He quit moving his family to Long Island to launch his own store, and that is the rest of the story, so let’s get to it.
He leased a vacant garage in Queens in 1930 he opened the doors to King Kullen Grocery Company. The store carried a variety of items, automotive accessories, hardware and of course groceries. His success was rapid, the chain expanded even surviving the Great Depression. By 1936, there were 17 King Kullen markets with a profit of $6,000,000.00 annually. He died in 1936 while in surgery for an appendix operation.
What you may not know about Michael is that is he recognized by the Smithsonian Institution as the inventor of the modern supermarket. King Kullen is now the 72nd largest supermarket chain in the United States. Now, that is the American spirit, alive and well.
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