Walt Churchill's Markets
Nearly 100 years of serving Northwest Ohio happiest customers
Back in 1917 my grandfather, J.W. Churchill and his brother, Jim opened the first Churchill’s at the corner of Detroit and West Woodruff. Our first store was in the Lincoln area of Toledo next to what is now known as the “Old West End”. My dad joined the United States Marine Corps on his 19th birthday, and when he returned home in 1925 he and his dad moved to Fernwood and Forest as J.W. Churchill and Son. In 1933 they moved to Upton Ave at Monroe and became Churchill’s Whitney Hills Market. Stores were very small back in the 30’s and there were 1,500 store in Toledo. In 1937 my Grand Dad sold his share to dad and he retired to a five acre farm on Dorr St. He provided some of our home grown products until his death in 1973.
Following World War II in 1947, we opened our fourth store at Central and Cheltenham as a frozen food locker plant. It didn’t take long before we expanded the store and we were once again a full grocery store. From 1947 until we opened our Byrne Rd store in 1964 the only meats we sold were frozen. During those years we became nationally recognized as a leader in frozen high quality meats.
My dad was very focused in three areas: The Marine Corps, the grocery business, and politics. He mentored me in all three. I remember when he received his first star in a ceremony in Washington D.C. I opened the Central Avenue store that morning, flew to Marine Headquarters in D.C. for the occasion, and back home to close the store that evening.
January 14, 1947 dad swore me into the United State Marine Corps. He was the commanding officer of the Toledo Marine Corps 8th Infantry Battalion. When we were activated for Korea he was a Full Colonel, and not permitted to go to Korea. He wasn’t happy that he couldn’t go, but my mother was very happy he was not leaving her again.
Our business prospered, and at the time of his death in 1998 we were operating four very good supermarkets. As a retired Major General he could not give up control. I was President and he was Chairman. His sudden death interrupted his plan to “Stay in command until he was one hundred and twenty plus, and don’t forget the plus.”
Over our long history we have learned that quality, value, and customer service is the best way to chart our course. We are also in the process of establishing an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) for the continuance of our business that has been built by our many dedicated employees. We look forward to serving you over the many years ahead.