February 25, 2019 7PM
Fred G. Meyer is one of Oregon’s greatest entrepreneurs and a national leader in the “one-stop-shopping” phenomenon that merged full-line grocery stores with clothes, shoes, hardware, sporting goods, small appliances and many other retail categories. With no more than a grade-school education, Meyer built a multi-state retail empire during a career that spanned nearly 70 years in Portland. Though well-known from his pleasant appearances at store openings, Meyer was an aggressive, relentless retail genius who never spoke of his ethnic history, early business failures, obscure religious beliefs or his family difficulties. Speaker Fred Leeson’s presentation will peel back the layers of this brilliant and multi-dimensional personality.
Fred Leeson was a newspaper reporter for nearly 40 years for the Oregon Journal and Oregonian in Portland. His journalistic assignments included local governments, courts, business news and Portland neighborhood issues. He reported on the sale of Fred Meyer Inc. after Meyer’s death and multiple lawsuits that followed it. After retiring from the newspaper, he learned of a trove of Meyer-related transcripts and memorabilia that had been kept at the Oregon Historical Society. This prompted his research for his book, My-Te Fine Merchant; Fred Meyer’s Retail Revolution.