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Tolerton & Warfield Company Catalog

Date: 1913


Description: This is a catalog from a grocery store managed by the Tolerton & Warfield wholesale grocery company. O. O. Tolerton and William Warfield independently began their own grocery businesses in Sioux City around 1890, with the Tolerton & Stetson and Howell & Warfield Companies respectively. In 1901, when Tolerton & Stetson moved to a warehouse at 3rd and Nebraska Street, William Warfield was hired as the vice president. In 1905 Warfield took over senior management and the firm was renamed Tolerton & Warfield. In the early 1900s the business kept expanding, opening up a manufacturing sector for candy and farm clothing. They bought the New England Steam Bakery and reorganized it to Johnson Biscuit Company in 1907, and this subsidy expanded along with the wholesale business.


In 1916 the company also started its own chain of retail grocery stores called Council Oak, after a brand of a line of Tolerton & Warfield products. These stores were some of the first true supermarkets in Sioux City, but they quickly expanded to cover over 90 stores all across the Midwest. Catalogs like this advertised different products sold by the Council Oak store (and Tolerton & Warfield wholesale products) as well as the prices for each item it contained. With the opening of these stores, Tolerton & Warfield successfully expanded to cover three different spheres on the channel of distribution. The company continued to enjoy success in all three spheres; in the 1920s a company called Robb-Ross began as an extension of the company’s edible manufacturing division and quickly grew. In 1956 Tolerton & Warfield was purchased by the National Tea Company, who shut the company down and sold off its subsidiaries. The interests of Robb-Ross were sold to an investment company in Minneapolis the following year. Johnson Biscuit Co. was purchased from National Tea in the 1970s by Interbake Foods, but Robb-Ross continued to manufacture food products well into the 1970s. The old Tolerton & Warfield warehouse burned down in the early 1980s.


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