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Jack H. Brown, chairman of the board, president and CEO, has announced that company Founder Cleo Stater passed away on September 9, 2001 at home.
Cleo and his twin brother Leo purchased the original Stater Bros. Market with a $600 down payment, and it opened for business in Yucaipa, California on August 17, 1936. They succeeded despite the Great Depression of the '30s, and between 1936 and 1939 the Stater brothers opened four additional grocery stores in San Bernardino County.
During World War II, Cleo served our country in the Army Air Corps and his parents kept the markets running. After the war, Cleo and brother Leo were joined in the business by a third brother, Lavoy. By the close of 1949, there were 12 Stater Bros. Markets.
During the 1950s and 1960s, 23 additional Stater Bros. Markets were opened in San Bernardino County, Riverside County, Los Angeles County and Orange County, and in 1964 Stater Bros. Markets became a public company. In July of 1968, the Stater brothers sold their interest in the Company, and Stater Bros. became a division of Petrolane Incorporated.
"Cleo Stater was the 'Soul' of our Company. He visited us often, and we always looked forward to his visits. He would usually bring his wife, Elsie, as well. Our Founding Principles of serving our customers with name brand merchandise at the lowest prices combined with Stater Bros.' famous 'Blue Ribbon' meats remain the strength of our Company today," stated Brown.