Oklahoma Stories: Sylvan Goldman and the Shopping Cart

Oklahoma Stories: Sylvan Goldman and the Shopping Cart

Not one to put all his eggs in one basket,
Oklahoma entrepreneur Sylvan Goldman was always ahead of the curve. In 1920, he made a name for himself as president
of Sun Grocery Company, a local chain. His business acumen is credited with reviving
the low-performing Humpty-Dumpty grocery chain, which he purchased in 1934.
But he’s most known for his creation of the shopping cart – an idea inspired by an ordinary
folding chair. The invention first wheeled down the aisle of one of his Humpty Dumpty
stores on June 4, 1936. Originally called a “folding basket carrier”,
it was Sylvan’s solution for shoppers, mostly women, who struggled to carry heavy groceries
in small hand baskets. Sylvan’s basket carrier not only made transport
easier, but its double-decker design allowed *more* items to be purchased at once. It was
a win-win. However, although practical, it took some
prodding to get customers to actually use the carrier. Goldman basically hired models and actors
to use the carts in-store to build interest. Before long the shopping cart was a hit. Later in life, Sylvan Goldman’s success continued
in real estate development, as well as savings and loans. However, from grocery stores to department
stores … and even the World Wide Web, it’s through the shopping cart by which his legacy
carries on. It’s estimated that 1.25 million new shopping
carts are manufactured each year.

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  1. On this day in 1937, Oklahoma City entrepreneur and inventor Sylvan Goldman introduced the now-ubiquitous shopping cart to the world. 

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