WinCo Foods operates more than 110 grocery stores in nine Western and Mid-Western states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington). Stores are open 24 hours a day, offering not only groceries but also bakery goods, bulk foods, fresh seafood, service delis and health and beauty products.
WinCo was founded in 1967 by two Boise area businessmen under the name Waremart. It was a no-frills, warehouse-style grocery store focusing on low prices. Over time, Waremart grew into a small chain of grocery stores, mainly based in the Pacific Northwest. In the 1970's, Waremart evolved into a supermarket that became regionally famous for low prices, flat-carts and grease pencils that customers had to use to write the price on each item (two of which are gone now, but not the low prices).
In the 1980's after the passing of Waremart's founder, there was uncertainty throughout the company. The employees loved the company, they loved their customers and did not want to see their stores go away. But what could they do? They were not rich investors or wealthy business owners. They were every day, hard working people that loved their place of work and loved the communities they called home.
For the employees of Waremart, there was only one option - join together and take ownership of their stores. In 1985 under the guidance of then company president Bill Long, the hard working men and women of Waremart established their Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), and bought the company from the Ward family. And so, with 17 stores owned and cared for by these hard working individuals, an employee-owned company was born.
In 1999, it was time for a change and a new name. As an employee-owned company, it made sense that the company's new name came from its employees. After a company-wide contest and vote, the new name was decided - WinCo Foods. Under its new name, WinCo Foods would continue on its path to success. The decades since have seen WinCo Foods grow into one of the largest 100% employee-owned companies in America.