> Supermarket: Hy-Vee
> Headquarters: West Des Moines, Iowa
> Year founded: 1930
> Best independent grocery store: Thai Binh Supermarket, Wichita
Hy-Vee is an unusual chain in that it allows its store directors (managers) to select inventory and set prices. Directors and executive staff also meet regularly to hear presentations and vote on corporate policies — and since 1933, the chain has paid its managers on a profit-sharing basis.
> Supermarket: Kroger
> Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio
> Year founded: 1883
> Best independent grocery store: Frank’s Meat & Produce, Louisville
Kroger’s was not only the first chain to bake its own bread; founder Barney Kroger also made his own branded sauerkraut from excess cabbage he bought from local farmers. This was the beginning of what has become one of America’s largest food manufacturing businesses. Kroger now operates 40 facilities making everything from soda pop to peanut butter.
> Supermarket: Rouses
> Headquarters: Thibodaux, Louisiana
> Year founded: 1960
> Best independent grocery store: Dorignac’s Food Center, Metairie
Rouses Markets — which started as a single store in Houma, Louisiana, just southwest of New Orleans, in 1960 — now numbers 63 units, mostly in its home state but with three outposts on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and eight in Lower Alabama. In 2011, downtown New Orleans got its first major grocery when Rouses opened in the city’s Warehouse District.
> Supermarket: Hannaford Brothers Company
> Headquarters: Scarborough, Maine
> Year founded: 1902
> Best independent grocery store: Portland Food Co-op, Portland
Hannaford got its start as a produce cart on the Portland, Maine, waterfront in 1883. By 1920, it had grown into a major produce wholesaler, venturing into the retail grocery business for the first time in 1944. Through an expansion program and the acquisition of numerous smaller chains since then, Hannaford has grown to 167 stores. In 2009 its new supermarket in Augusta, Maine, was the first grocery store in America to be certified LEED Platinum for its environmental practices. Hannaford is now part of Ahold Delhaize.
> Supermarket: Giant Food
> Headquarters: Landover, Maryland
> Year founded: 1936
> Best independent grocery store: Lancaster County Dutch Market, Germantown
Part of the international Ahold Delhaize company, Giant was founded in 1936 as the first supermarket in Washington, D.C. Today, the brand operates more than 150 stores in the capital and throughout Virginia and Maryland. It makes a point of its work with women’s, veterans’, and LGBTQ+ groups as part of its commitment to diversity and inclusion.