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Ralph Ketner, co-founder of the Food Lion supermarket chain and a legendary figure because of his obsessive focus on low prices, has passed away at age 95. He had recently been diagnosed with colon cancer.

The Salisbury Post wrote about Ketner, in part:

"In business, Ketner built a reputation as a genius with numbers. He bet the company on a low-pricing concept that eventually became known as LFPINC — Lowest Food Prices in North Carolina. It propelled the sleepy, Salisbury-based grocery chain and its stock to incredible growth and national prominence.

"Ketner and his lieutenants also installed a system of forward and centralized buying, merchandising, store location, distribution, cost-cutting, training and employee incentives that complemented the chain’s pricing concept."

But the Post also wrote:

"As competitive as Ketner was with Food Lion, in retirement he mellowed considerably and became a great advisor and philanthropist, donating millions of dollars to local, state and national causes." And it also quotes Ketner as saying, "I believe it’s true that you make a living with what you get, but you make a life with what you give."
KC's View:
I knew some of the Ralph Ketner story - I should, since I've been doing this for 30+ years - but I found the Salisbury Post obit to be remarkably detailed and fascinating. I recommend you take a moment this morning and read it here ... it gives not just a sense of the man, but of the industry's history. I'm a big believer in context, and this offers plenty of it, which is not surprising since Salisbury is Food lion's home market.