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
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.
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