Hartford, George Huntington

Hartford, George Huntington

(1833–1917) grocery store magnate; born in Augusta, Maine. His father was a farmer and merchant. After working as a store clerk in Boston, he went to St. Louis where he worked in a store owned by George F. Gilman (1858). The men went to New York City where they opened the first of their stores known as the Great American Tea Company; Hartford took charge of selling quality teas at below average prices. As the company expanded to other cities, in 1869 it was renamed the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company. Hartford had moved to Orange, N.J., where he served as mayor (1879–91). Gilman retired from the business in 1878 but Hartford's sons – George Ludlum Hartford (1864–1957) and John Augustine Hartford (1872–1951)—joined the firm; at Gilman's death (1901) the Hartfords acquired complete ownership. They began to expand the variety of items sold, added to the chain (4,700 stores by 1951, by then known as the A&P), and even began to process and manufacture food and products for their stores under their own brand name. In 1915 Hartford turned over control of the business to his sons; George concentrated on the company's finances while John managed the business operations.
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