Dearborn began with a retail store in Chicago at the end of the nineteenth century. Today, we are the largest wholesale and convenience store distributor based in Chicago. For over one hundred years, we have followed our mission of helping retailers serve their customers.
M. Friedman opened a retail grocery store in Chicago in the 1890s. In 1919, the Friedman family entered the wholesale trade by purchasing C. Moon and Sons, Wholesale Grocers. Dearborn was one of the small wholesale houses that the Friedman family owned. It was named for Fort Dearborn, the historic Fort that was built to protect the early settlers of Chicago.
Fort Dearborn was demolished almost one hundred and fifty years ago, but Dearborn Wholesale Grocers, L.P. remains a strong fortress for Chicagoland retailers. As horse and buggy wagons gave way to trucks and the birth of the modern supermarket, Dearborn had the vision to leave the market streets for its own warehouse. There, Dearborn became the exclusive distributor for quality lines of products. As a progressive force in the market, Dearborn developed a team of sales representatives to help independent retailers compete with chain stores.
Our next major advance was to enter the cash and carry business. In 1965, Dearborn opened a cash and carry on the south side of Chicago. Soon, we were the leading cash and carry distributor in Chicago. Our cash and carry stores offer retailers the opportunity to shop for products much like consumers shop in a retail store. Thirty-five years later, Dearborn has five cash and carry locations. We remain the leading cash and carry distributor in Chicago.
A few years later, Dearborn acquired Progressive Grocers and moved into a modern distribution center located near a major interstate highway. We were also fortunate to have the chance to build on the Progressive programs and give an opportunity to the many grocery professionals working for Progressive Grocers.
Over the next decade, Dearborn continued to service the retail grocery community. We again found that we need a larger and more efficient facility to service our customers. In 1980, Dearborn moved into our custom designed distribution center at 2801 S. Western Avenue. With 350,000 square feet of high cube space, Dearborn has a base to operate with the same level of efficiency as the largest distributors in the nation.
After servicing grocery stores for almost one hundred years, in 1991 Dearborn entered the convenience store distribution business. We added a team of convenience store professionals to our staff. Soon, we became known as a leading distributor of cigarettes, candy, and all the other products that convenience stores need to satisfy their customers.
Customer service remains the hallmark of Dearborn. We offer next day delivery for customers in our four-state service area. We also have a will call program for customers who prefer to pick up their own orders. Our customers all have a sales representative available to help with merchandising. We also offer sales movement reports to help evaluate items that our customers keep in stock. In addition, we have a set up crew to help in merchandising a store. Our customers can place orders electronically or by telephone in English or Spanish.
As our market evolved, Dearborn developed marketing programs for our retailers. All of our customers benefit from our participation in the Parade private label program. Dearborn is the exclusive distributor of Parade products in our market. The extensive line of Parade products allows our customers to compete with national chains in price and quality. In recent years, we also developed new marketing programs. For grocery stores, we have the Treasure Chest program, providing merchandising materials and sales items equal to the national chains. For convenience stores, we have the Wise Buy and Dearborn Discounter programs to advertise and promote products for the convenience store customer. we also have a full line of Hispanic product program to service this important part of our market.
Dearborn is a technological leader. We began using a computer system when many other distributors were still using adding machines. Today, our technology system allows customers to enter orders electronically. We use an advanced program for routing our deliveries. All of our trucks have on board computers to assure the best customer service. Because all of our business is computer driven, we can offer sales and movement information for our customers. Today, we are implementing a state-of-the art radio frequency control system in our warehouse that will allow Dearborn to provide the most efficient service in the industry for our customers.
Dearborn owes all of its success to our customers and our team at Dearborn. We listen to our customers. Our goal is to help our customers help their customers. Our customers can turn to our team in complete confidence because we speak their language. Many members of our staff are former storeowners and managers. We also offer a consistent contact with Dearborn. Many members of our team have celebrated ten, twenty and thirty year anniversaries with Dearborn. We develop a trusting relationship with our customers over years of service. When a customer has a problem, he knows the Dearborn team will be there to help.