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Charles (Charlie) Hooley, co-founder of Cub Foods (with is brother, Jack, brother-in-law Bob Thueson, and friend, Culver “Cub” Davis), has passed away at age 89.

Cub originated as Food Bonanza - the Pioneer Press describes it as “a bare-bones operation featuring concrete floors, block walls and unpainted wood shelving that catered to price-conscious shoppers” - in 1968, and converted it to the Cub name (“Consumers United for Buying”) shortly thereafter.

The Pioneer Press writes that “when Cub was acquired by Supervalu in 1980, Jack Hooley stayed on as CEO of Cub for two years. He retired in 1985. Charlie Hooley retired in 1981.

“Cub now has 80 stores, 79 in Minnesota and one in Illinois, and more than 6,000 employees.”
KC's View:
When I first started writing about food retailing in 1984-85, I remember that the magazine where I got a job (“Supermarket Business”) had on its cover a large picture of Cub Foods, asking whether Cub might take over or at least forever change the world of food retailing. The questions were posed in the same way that they sometime later were posed about Walmart, and more recently about Amazon.

It’s important to remember, I think, that these are all stages of an evolution … though sometimes it is more revolutionary than others. But that doesn’t mean that retailers can be complacent, with a “this, too, shall pass” attitude. Far from it. Cub was on the leading edge of an important movement, one that exists and persists to this day; WinCo, for example, has taken the Cub format and improved and expanded upon it, creating a value-driven powerhouse that is growing and thriving pretty much everywhere it goes.