© Jonathan Traviesa
David Cappello spent a quarter-century authoring market research studies for corporate and financial clients. The People’s Grocer is his first book written for the general public. Besides being a business writer, Cappello is also a musician, poet, and playwright. He lives in New Orleans.
10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 3
Big Names in Big Business: Biographies of Louisiana Entrepreneurs
11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Barnes & Noble Bookselling Tent
The People's Grocer: John G. Schwegmann, New Orleans, and the Making of the Modern Retail World
The People’s Grocer is a business-based biography of John G. Schwegmann, founder of a legendary New Orleans’ supermarket chain and the most innovative and courageous retailer of the postwar era. Virtually unrecognized in retail history, visionary Schwegmann pioneered the modern big-box concept. Even more important, his 1951 Supreme Court victory over “fair trade” laws played a key role in legalizing discount pricing. A marketer extraordinaire, Schwegmann’s offbeat and controversial ads and shopping bags came to symbolize the Crescent City. As a fierce consumer crusader, his fiery passions ultimately drove him into politics.
Along with spotlighting the life, career, and family legacy of John Schwegmann, this biography illuminates a broad spectrum of neglected socioeconomic topics. Old corner grocery stores, outdoor and public markets, real estate in the Great Depression, manufacturer price fixing, the supermarket revolution, postwar New Orleans politics, and the battle over the Superdome—all these stories and more are explored in an epic book spanning retail history from the pre-industrial 1850s to the post-industrial 1990s.
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