In 1883, Barney Kroger, with only $372, opened a grocery store in downtown Cincinnati. More than 120 years later, as the supermarket business has evolved into a variety of formats aimed at satisfying the ever-changing needs of shoppers, Kroger has grown to over 2,500 stores in 31 states under two-dozen banners and annual sales of more than $66 billion. Today, Kroger ranks as one of the nation s largest retailers. Kroger has pioneered many innovations in the supermarket industry. During the 1930s, it was the first grocery chain to monitor product quality and test foods. In 1972, Kroger became the first grocery retailer in America to test an electronic scanner. It was installed in a store in suburban Cincinnati. Technology plays an important role in Kroger s store operations, with more than 1,600 Kroger stores offering self-checkout. Kroger spans many states with store formats that include grocery and multidepartment stores, convenience stores and mall jewelry stores. Among the brands it operates are Fred Meyer, Ralphs, Fry s, Baker s, Food4Less, KwikStop and Tom Thumb. Kroger is headquartered in Cincinnati, and maintains a store in East Peoria, Ill.