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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
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WESTERN GROCER COMPANY. This company, the successor to the JOHN T. HANCOCK & SONS company, was located in the BISHOP'S BLOCK. (1) Founded in 1908 with headquarters in Marshalltown, Iowa, Western went on to establish five canning factories in Iowa and was ranked as the nation's largest supplier of canned corn. It also operated a giant coffee roasting plant in Marshalltown. (2)

Specializing in canned goods, the company canned asparagus in the spring and continued through late fall canning sauerkraut. In 1910 the Faultless brand ranked as the company's most important followed by the Climax brand. (3) The company was the exclusive representative for Chocolate Cream coffee and the largest wholesaler of fish in the state. (4)

The Dubuque branch of the company was formerly JOHN T. HANCOCK & SON. With many accounts along the MISSISSIPPI RIVER, the company's business ran as far north at Red Wing, Minnesota.

The 1918 Dubuque City Directory listed the address as 20 S. Main.

The 1922 through 1948 Dubuque Classified Business Directory listed 90-98 Main.

The 1951 and 1955 Dubuque City Directory listed 90 Main.

Photo courtesy: Jim Lang
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Ink blotter. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

On May 1, 1959, the Western Grocery Company in Dubuque closed. Western Grocer had been owned for nearly fifteen years by Consolidated Foods Corporation prior to the closing of the Dubuque facility.



1. "Dubuque's Wholesale Grocers Among the Oldest Concerns in Iowa," Telegraph Herald, March 10, 1910, p. 1

2. "Western Grocery Pioneer Concern," Telegraph-Herald and Times-Journal, August 24, 1930, p. 93

3. "Dubuque's Wholesale Grocers..."

4. Ibid.
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