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Upon his return to San Francisco in 1865, James became a full partner of the Pioneer Steam Coffee and Spice Mills. In 1872, James bought out the other partners, renaming the company J.A. Folger & Co. In June 1889, at the age of 51, James passed away and his oldest son, James A. Folger II, stepped into the role of president. Under his leadership, the company expanded dramatically. Its principal product was bulk-roasted coffee, which was delivered to grocery stores in sacks and drums and was stored in bins to be scooped out for the customer. But J.A. Folger & Co. also continued to produce ground coffee.
In the 1900s, Folgers & Co. experienced substantial growth, attributable primarily to an energetic salesman named Frank P. Atha. Atha was assigned to sell coffee in the North Beach area of California, where many small grocery stores served the cosmopolitan population. In 1901, after a year on the job, Atha decided that his territory was not large enough for his ambitions. He proposed to Folger that he open and manage a Folgers coffee plant in Texas. Atha's business grew exponentially, and by year two, he was able to hire two more salesmen and rent office space. In 1908, Atha recommended building a new roasting plant in Kansas City, which remains operational to this day.
In 1963, the Procter & Gamble Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, acquired the Folgers Coffee Company and began national distribution of the products under the name Folgers. Since P&G acquired Folgers, it has doubled its business, making it America's number one coffee brand.
About Proctor & Gamble
Two billion times a day, Proctor & Gamble brands touch the lives of people around the world. The company has one of the largest and strongest portfolios of trusted brands in the world, including Pampers, Tide, Ariel, Always, Pantene, Bounty, Folgers, Pringles, Charmin, Downy, Iams, Crest, Actonel, and Olay.
It all started in 1837 when William Procter and James Gamble settled in Cincinnati. Procter quickly established himself as a candle maker, while Gamble apprenticed himself to a soap maker. The two might never have met had they not married sisters, Olivia and Elizabeth Norris, whose father convinced his new sons-in-law to become business partners. In 1837,a bold new enterprise was born: Procter & Gamble. By each pledging $3,596.47 to the new venture, they began selling soap and candles. Twenty-two years later, their business exceeded $1 million in sales. By 1980 that figure would reach $10 billion, and by 1993 the company would generate over $35 billion in revenue.
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