Today, we mourn the loss of industry veteran and retail pioneer Charles Hooley, who co-founded Cub Foods and catapulted it to one of the nation’s first big-box grocery chains. He passed away on Sunday, June 17th, at the age of 89.
Hooley gained insight into the food industry from his family—including his grandfather, who, as an Irish immigrant, moved to Minnesota in the late 1800s and delivered food to lumberjacks. Hooley’s father, Matt Hooley, opened his own store in the 1920s, called Hooley’s Grocery Store, in Stillwater. Hooley and his brother, Jack who passed away in 2016, were surrounded by the food business while growing up.
Charles, Jack, their brother-in-law Bob Thueson, and their friend Culver Davis came together to launch Cub Foods in 1968. The groundbreaking model for the business, which focused on price-conscious shoppers, incorporated a warehouse-style and conveyor belts, as well as membership fees for a time. The goal of the founders was to expand purchasing power to hand down more savings to customers, revolutionizing the way grocery business was done at the time, according to the Twin Cities’ Pioneer Press.
Since that initial launch, Eden Prairie-based Supervalu has taken Cub under its wing, and it has 8 stores throughout Minnesota and beyond.
Hooley once held the title of Mayor for Stillwater, where he was appointed to the role in 1993.
According to Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, a visitation will be held at Simonet Funeral Home in Stillwater on Thursday.
Our thoughts are with all who are affected by this loss.