This company is credited with putting small businesses out of business by low prices that could not be beat. Middle men were shut out and wholesalers were scrutinized and threatened as this company grew in strength. This isn’t something new but the company that changed the way America bought groceries was the A&P or The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company.
Initially most grocery stores were not self service or large, but instead were small mom and pop corner stores, and these small stores were everywhere. Then the A&P stepped in changing the economic landscapes of many neighborhoods. As the A&P grew the chain stores began to appear throughout the country and could lower prices to such an extent that the smaller stores could not compete. As those stores began closing, there was a backlash against the company and eventually a suit was brought against the A&P by the United States.
Beginning with the founding of the company in the middle of the nineteenth century, The Great A&P and The Struggle for Small Business in America by Marc Levinson chronicles the rise and fall of one of the first discount chains. This is a fascinating story of the evolution of a business strategy that continues to impact the world.