Oral History Interview with Fred G. Meyer

Oral History Interview with Fred G. Meyer, by Gerry Pratt [Sound recording] Portrait of Fred G. Meyer Oral History Interview with Fred G. Meyer, by Gerry Pratt [Transcript]

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SR 9474

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Oral History Interview with Fred G. Meyer


  • 1970-08-25 (Creation)


1 Reel tape (25 min., 53 sec.) ; 7 in., 1/2 in. tape + Transcript (15 pp) + 1 Black-and-white print (5 x 7 in.)
online resource (1 audio files (25 min., 53 sec.) + Transcript (1 PDF file) + Image (1 TIF)

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Biographical history

Fred G. Meyer was born Frederick Grubmeyer in 1886 in Brooklyn, New York. He moved West in the 1900s starting in Alaska and eventually making his way to Portland, Oregon. He married Eva Chatfield Chiles who would become his business partner and the inspiration behind Eve's Restaurants which were coffee shops attached to many Fred Meyer stores. Fred G. Meyer died in 1978 at the age of 92. His will established a charitable trust to create a philanthropic organization now known as the Meyer Memorial Trust which is now one of the largest private foundations in the nation. The first Fred Meyer grocery store opened in downtown Portland, Oregon in 1922. Meyer opened more stores in downtown Portland in the 1920s and 1930s, then expanded into the outlying areas of Portland and beyond. By the 1990s there were stores bearing the Fred Meyer name throughout Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Arizona and Alaska. In addition to the supermarket stores, Fred Meyer, Inc. also included jewelry stores, restaurants, federal savings and loan banks, print shops, bakeries, dairies and music stores. In 1999, Fred Meyer, Inc. merged with Kroger, Inc., making the combined company the largest grocery store chain in the country.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Gerry Pratt was born in Vancouver, Canada, in 1927. He began his career in journalism at the Canadian Press, the Vancouver Sun, and the Toronto Telegram. In 1950, he and Barbara June Holstead were married; they later had three children. In 1954, he became a U.S. citizen, and the next year he began working for the Oregonian newspaper in Portland as a waterboy, eventually becoming the business editor. He was a writer for several newspapers around Portland, and was a contributor to the public radio program All Things Considered as well as multiple TV programs. He served as president of the Fred Meyer Savings and Loan Association, and sat on the board of several organizations, including the Meyer Memorial Trust. He died in 2016.

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Fred Meyer discusses: Settling in Portland and significance of the location; the early days; growth of the Fred Meyer Corporation; death of Mrs. Meyer; Fred Meyer goes public; industrial growth; business philosophies; costs and wages; 1970s inflation; bankruptcy of other business; TriMet taxation; historical figures admired by Fred Meyer; Supreme Court case about unfair competition; government controls; future of Portland as a major city. Also includes black and white photograph of Fred Meyer, taken at Photo Art Commercial Studio in Portland, Oregon.

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Creative Commons - Attribution, Non-Commercial, ShareAlike (BY-NC-SA) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/

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  • English

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Oral History Interview with Fred G. Meyer, by Gerry Pratt, 1970 August 25, SR 9474, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

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