Moniteau County, Missouri
(Now a division of Dillon's)
From the 2000 History of Moniteau County:
In 1926, when Frank Gerbes was the Manager of a small Kroger store in Tipton, who would have thought one day he would own one of the largest chain of stores in Central Missouri.
After working eight years for Kroger, in 1934 he purchased the Bane Mercantile Company from S. P. James. This was his first venture. At that time he had two employees and carried a stock of 800 items.
The organization began to spread its wings in April, 1941, when the second store was opened in Versailles. Five years later, in 1946, the third store opened in Windsor and in July of the same year, the Eldon store made its appearance.
The fifth store opened in Holden in June, 1954 and in January 1958, a store opened in Camdenton.
Later five more stores opened, three in Jefferson City and two in Columbia.
For many years the home office operated out of the old theater building with Fred Imhoff as General Manager. Leonard Gerke was named manager of the Tipton store in 1948. He retired in 1991.
In 1986 Gerbes merged with J. S. Dillon & Sons of Kansas. In 1988 a merger was issued from Kroger.
In 1967 the present store building was built on the corner of Moniteau and Moreau. The present [in 2000] manager is Keith Beck.
Mr. Gerbes passed away December 14, 1975. Mrs. Gerbes died January 7, 1993.
From The Illustrated History of Tipton, Missouri 1858-2008:
The Gerbes Supermarket chain began in Tipton on March 15, 1934 when Frank Gerbes purchased Bane Mercantile. Mr. Gerbes was originally from Jefferson City where he had owned and operated Purity Ice Cream Company and later a 10' x 20' grocery on West Main. He moved to Tipton on January 17, 1926, to serve as manager of the Kroger Store that was located in the Ross Opera House building on West Moniteau Street.
Bane Mercantile was established about 1904 on the southwest corner of Osage and Moniteau, opposite the City Hotel. It was purchased about 1918 by S. P. James and Jacob Heinen. Mr. James assumed sole ownership around 1926 and operated it until the purchase by Frank Gerbes.
The new Gerbes store opened on Saturday, March 24, 1934 with two employees and 800 items carried in stock.
In 1936, the Gerbes Store joined the Independent Grocers Alliance of America (IGA).
In 1941, a Gerbes store opened in Versailles. A 50 ft by 70 ft. building northwest of the Court House Square, where Frederick Nichols had previously operated a grocery store, was leased from W. F. Kidwell.
In October 1944, the grocery portion of the Tipton store moved to a new building constructed by A. F. Martin on the south side of Moniteau Street "between the Tipton Times and Dr. Hume's office."
In 1947, the Wherling Chain in Warrensburg was purchased, but those stores were closed within a few years "because of unsuitable locations." Additional stores were opened in Eldon (1946), Camdenton (1958), Windsor (1946), Holden (1954), and Pleasant Hill (1961).
The Tipton store moved to the northeast corner of Short and Moniteau Streets in 1954. The store officially opened on August 26, 1954. There was free cotton candy for children accompanied by parents, free ice cream cones, samples of Snow Crop lemonade, and samples of Betty Crocker cakes, baked fresh in the store.
A Gerbes store opened in Columbia in July 1963. In 1965, a 41,000 square foot Gerbes Family Shopping Center opened in Jefferson City.
Gerbes Supermarkets, Inc. owned and operated 14 grocery stores in mid-Missouri. Frank Gerbes remained as president until his retirement in 1968. The stores merged with J. S. Dillon and Sons Stores of Kansas in 1982. Leonard Gerke retired in 1991 after 42 years with the company.
A Gerbes supermarket continued to operate in Tipton until April 14, 2007 when Dillon's closed the Tipton and Versailles stores. For the first time in the town's history, there was no full-time grocery store in Tipton for two weeks until Dave's Country Market from Boonville opened a branch in the Gerbes building on April 28, 2007.
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Last modified: April 02, 2015