Company History

A short history of The F.W. Albrecht Grocery Company

Original Acme

THE HISTORY OF THE FRED W. ALBRECHT GROCERY COMPANY is a story of people and progress. Like that of any successful company, our growth and success are a result of the efforts of dedicated men and women who have worked hard to achieve their goals. To be successful, a company requires energetic effort and leadership by people of vision, people who can make decisions, and are willing to change and innovate.

Frederick Wilhelm Albrecht, the founder of the Company, was such a man. Born April 3, 1861 and raised in Massillon, Ohio, he was the son of a Massillon grocer. Fred W. grew up in Massillon and operated a grocery store there on Main Street until 1891, then, at the age of 30 he sold out and moved to Akron, where he believed there was greater opportunity.

Fred W. bought a small, grocery store in Akron located at Buchtel, Sumner, and Center Streets. This location became Acme No. 1. For ten years, Fred W. operated this single store. He solicited business, kept open evenings, and had all of the “frills” expected of a corner grocery store at that time. As business grew, Mr. Albrecht gained a reputation in Akron for being a quality-minded, progressive, efficient, and honest grocer. His store prospered, but Fred W. had higher ambitions; Fred W. had a dream of a chain of stores.

In 1900, Fred W. went to Philadelphia and visited one of the first chain grocery companies in the nation, called “The Acme Stores”. They were painted yellow and conducted cash only sales. As a result of that visit, in the spring of 1900, Fred W. closed his grocery at Buchtel, Sumner, and Center Streets for a week. During that week, inventory was taken, the store was given a thorough house cleaning, stock was rearranged, and last but not least, the store was painted yellow inside and out! On Monday, Fred W. opened his little yellow store as Acme No.1, a cash only store.

The first day sales were $4.63. A rather discouraging start since the associates were paid a sum of $7.50 for the day. But business grew so fast that before the end of the year, it was necessary to have three delivery wagons for Acme No. 1. In the summer of 1901, Acme No. 2 was started on South Main between Thornton and Voris. By 1904, there were six stores in the chain and a small warehouse and stable for Acme’s fleet of horse drawn wagons that delivered goods to the stores.

By the early 1930’s there were 126 small, neighborhood stores. The 1950’s brought the era of the Supermarket and Acme began to modernize its stores and adapting to trends and new technologies. That spirit of accepting change and leading innovation continues at Acme Fresh Markets.