In an act "relating to chain stores or multiple mercantile establishments," approved on February 3, 1940, the General Assembly attempted to deal with an economic problem of growing concern in Depression-era America. The act enumerated the many advantages such large businesses enjoyed "not common to independent merchants," such as the ability to sell some merchandise at less than cost. These "advantages and practices," the act noted, "tend strongly to create monopolies and restrain or limit trade." In response, the act imposed a sliding scale of annual license fees ranging from twenty-five dollars per store for businesses having less than five stores in the state up to two hundred dollars per store for businesses having more than two hundred and fifty stores in the state. These provisions were not applied to "filling, service and bulk stations maintained for the servicing of motor vehicles."
Kroger grocery in Winchester, May 1934. Photograph by William B. Ogden, William B. Ogden Studio Negative Collection, Kentucky Historical Society Collections.