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Celebrating Over 80 Years of Excellence

Founder W.T. Dahl was considered a pioneer in the supermarket business, opening his first grocery market in 1931 on Des Moines' east side. Today, there are 13 stores serving the Des Moines, Ankeny and Ames communities.


Dahl's on Ingersoll with a team of Clydesdales advertising the Iowa State Fair circa 1940s.

In what year was the Iowa State Fair actually canceled and why?

In 1898, the year the World's Fair was held in Omaha, and it was considered too much competition. It was also said that The Iowa State Fair was canceled that year out of consideration for the Spanish-American War.


W.T. Dahl (right) touting the advantages in sales of the new business model: a self-serve grocery store.

When did the word supermarket originate?

In 1933, Chain Store Age magazine wrote: "The 'one-stop-drive-in super market' provides free parking, and every kind of food under one roof."


A National cash register at Dahl's on Ingersoll, 1952.

Where and when was the first debit card tested for the purchase of groceries in the U.S.?

The Dahl's on Fleur Drive in 1981 was the first to process a debit card.


W.T. Dahl (far left) at KSO Radio, 
Des Moines, discussing food retailing, 1947.

In 1947, how much did a TIME magazine cost?

Twenty cents. Today, the news stand price is $3.95.


A Dahl's Foods Meat Department, circa 1950.

In the 1950's, what was used on butcher shop floors to prevent slips and soak up spills?

Sawdust. Today, slip-resistant shoes and commercial floor cleaners are used to keep meat departments clean and safe.


The check-out of a Dahl's, circa 1950.

Why was the cash register invented?

To prevent employee theft. In the 1879, Dayton, Ohio saloon owner James Ritty suspected his employees of pilfering. Inspired by a device that counted the rotations of a steamship wheel, Ritty invented the first cash register: a machine that totaled each sale and, to reduce theft, Ritty made sure the register would ring when the cash drawer was opened.


A Dahl's Bakery Department, circa 1950.

What was the first grocery store with an in-store bakery?

Dahl's Foods on Beaver Avenue in 1948.