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S. S. Kresge

(Sebastian Spering Kresge)
merchant, philanthropist
Born: 7/31/1867
Birthplace: Bald Mount, Pa.

With a newly minted business degree in hand, Kresge worked as a traveling tinware salesman (1890–97) before opening the first of his discount retail stores whose merchandise was all priced at less than a dime. He went into business in 1897 with one of his customers, J. G. McCrory, who owned a chain of stores in the northeast. Together they expanded and opened new stores before Kresge bought out McCrory and incorporated as S. S. Kresge in 1912 with 85 stores. Due to inflation from World War I, Kresge had to raise the limit on his prices to one dollar, but kept to its discount niche and eventually became K Mart Corporation. He formed the Kresge Foundation (1924) to help support existing organizations through grants to improve or rebuild their infrastructure and capital equipment.

Died: 10/18/1966

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