Our history and how it has shaped us today

Journey to 140

Journey to 140We’re incredibly proud of our heritage. As we continue to celebrate our 140th year in business, we have been reflecting on how far we, and the world we live in, has come since we were founded in 1876.

The spirit of enterprise, integrity and innovation which characterises Musgrave is what makes us unique. Through economic downturns and significant world events, our policy of investing, changing and innovating has been key to our success.

It is as we reflect on our past that we realise how much our values and people have made Musgrave what it is today; strong, resilient and ready to continue in the spirit of our innovative founders who had a progressive and dynamic approach to business.

1876Like many things, it started with a brew. The Musgrave brothers, Thomas & Stuart opened a grocery store in Cork City. They started selling tea, but what's tea without a biscuit? They decided to start stocking food too.
1894Time to get official. The company became 'Musgrave Brothers Ltd', with a charter to retail and wholesale.
1908The next generation. Thomas' son, John L Musgrave became Managing Director. He must have loved his job as he was head of the company for four decades. Hats off to you John!
1925On the move. We had outgrown our Grand Parade premises and decided it was time to relocate to our purpose built Cornmarket Street HQ.
1950All aboard the VG Trading System. It was time to join the system increasing our buying power and lowering our distribution costs - a win-win.
1961By the middle of 1961 Musgrave had over 140 retailers signed up for their innovative group trading model, the first in Ireland, and had launched the revolutionary self-service concept.
1972Look at us go. Musgrave opened Dublin's first cash-and-carry and we named it Robinhood.
Early 1980's1 became 2. Family member, Hugh MacKeown updated the VG system and divided it into two branded stores. The big stores were named SuperValu and our small convenience stores named Centra. Ring any bells?
Late 1980's There's just no stopping us. Our SuperValu stores were already at 122 and our Centra stores 250!
1994We took a holiday. The acquisition of the Spanish Dialsur businesss was now complete, and the once modest family business had now become an international family business.
2002-2004Hello Britain! We acquired the British brands Budgens and Londis, growing the business even further.
2005The 1st daybreak store was opened by Musgrave Wholesale Partners in response to the needs of their independent retail customers who wanted to be associated with a symbol brand that reflected their ambition in the convenience sector.
2009Relaunch of Musgrave Wholesale. New Marketplace Cash and Carry concept for Musgrave formally launched at the group's Robinhood site in south Dublin. Heralded as the future of 'cash and carry' the Musgrave MarketPlace rebrand enhanced the wholesale shopper experience with a vastly wider range of stock, particularly in its chilled and frozen categories.
2011Forever growing. Musgrave bought 24 Superquinn stores and converted them into SuperValu stores, so we could gain more presence in Dublin.
2015During 2015, we invested in our SuperValu, Centra and MarketPlace brands which now lead their respective markets and support over 22,000 Irish businesses, generating €7 billion of economic activity annually.
2016140 years of looking forward. We look forward as a leading Irish-owned family business, with pride in our history and confidence in our future. Progression, taking risks, winning some, losing some, but never giving up on new challenges has made Musgrave a success... and we're still drinking tea.

Memory book

We’re grateful to each and every one of our colleagues who have played their part in making Musgrave what it is today. As part of reflecting on our 140 year history we invited colleagues past and present to share their special memories of working with Musgrave. What they had to say gave us a special insight into our own history, and brought back delightful memories for many.

Mary Crowley

Musgrave pensioner memoriesMary Crowley shared her memories of her 20 years working at Musgrave working with Musgrave in Cork.

People like Mary have all played their part in making Musgrave what it is today and we’re grateful to her and all of our colleagues throughout our long 140-year history.

Mary presented us with her favourite photograph of her and her friends at our headquarters in Cornmarket Street in 1963.

We have spoken with many of our past colleagues who have shared their ‘memories’ from their time working at Musgrave, giving us an insight into our own history.

Follow our story @Musgraveplc #Musgrave140

Larry Costello

Musgrave pensioner memoriesLarry Costello shared his memories of his two decades working in Musgrave.

“It’s a brilliant company to work for. The fun and laughter had with my co-workers in the Cash & Carry and a trip to London on Concorde, as part of a retailer incentive, are stand out memories of good times. We reached supersonic speed over the Bay of Biscay which was exhilarating, out of this world. It will stay in my mind forever.”

Thank you Larry Costello for your work, loyalty and for sharing your special memory of your time in Musgrave.

Concorde flight 1996 @Musgraveplc #Musgrave140

Tom Ryan

Musgrave pensioner memoriesOur former colleague, Tom Ryan recently recalled the best moments of his 35 year with Musgrave.

“Opening new accounts! I joined the company in its centenary year 1976. The first account was Jim & Sheila Flood. Sheila is still trading with us, as are many more such as Kevin O’Leary. It’s very special to build long-standing relationships. It takes time, you have to earn their confidence and loyalty. With Kevin, we started out as business colleagues and became close friends.”

Tom has been a tremendous asset to Musgrave and we’re grateful for his commitment.

Tom and Kevin reminisced about their recce prior to Kevin opening his Centra, 1996. @Musgraveplc #Musgrave140


Musgrave pensioner memoriesWe were touched to hear the story from our former colleague Paul Byrne who told us how Musgrave once delivered a hamper to his relative when she was a little girl in the 1920’s. We believe it was a very special gift from ‘Santa Claus’ that year and we’re touched that our gesture is among her most cherished memories.

According to Paul: “Such is the stuff of dreams and memories. She is now a nun in her 90s who still has lovely memories of the generous gesture.”

We’re delighted to send Paul’s relative another hamper of treats and hope she enjoys them just as much as she did back then.

Christmas hamper story @Musgraveplc #Musgrave140

The People of Musgrave

As part of our 140th anniversary, we went on a quest to celebrate our people. We invited our colleagues to tell us about their peers – those who inspire and show true passion and dedication in bringing to life our values.

We were incredibly touched by the hundreds of heartwarming and honest stories of praise of colleagues, importantly, by colleagues.

Here’s a snapshot of the people who make Musgrave what it is today. We’re proud of each and every one of you.

To the next 140

From our original small grocery store owned by two brothers, we’re now Ireland’s largest private employer with over 35,000 employees. Our family business is sustaining long term stable relationships, built on a bedrock of honesty, working hard, achievement and not being greedy. Our values stand us in good stead in the modern world.

As we continue to adapt, innovate and move forward into the future, these principles will be at the heart of every decision we make.

The next 140

Did you know?

John L Musgrave successfully steered the company through two world wars, the Great Depression and domestic political instability.

Did you know?

Musgave was once involved in other diverse commercial activities such as coal, hotels, laundry, bacon, sweets manufacturing, tea blending, shop fitting, construction and frozen foods.

Did you know?

Today, 5th generation Musgrave family members continue to guide the business.

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