Robert Weis, former chairman of Weis Markets, died at age 96. He is credited with driving the growth and continued success of Weis Markets, a 103-year-old business started by his father, Harry Weis, and uncle, Sigmund Weis.
After opening the first store, Weis Pure Foods, in 1912, the brothers opened stores throughout central Pennsylvania over several years. Weis worked in the family's stores as a child, operating the cash registers and bagging groceries.
Weis and his cousin Sigfried Weis, the son of Sigmund Weis, were drafted into the armed forces during World War II. At the end of the war, they returned to Pennsylvania to work at the family business once again.
Early in his career, Weis worked in nearly every department, including operations, distribution, marketing, procurement, human resources, real estate and store construction.
Weis Markets became a publicly traded company in 1965 and is listed on the New York stock exchange today. Following the IPO, Weis was instrumental in the company's expansion into six states and become chairman in 1995.
In the 1990s, Sigfried Weis' heirs attempted to force a sale of Weis Markets, resulting in a multi-year dispute that ended in 2001. During this time, Weis directed a repurchase of the heirs' stock and became the company's largest shareholder.
Apart from being a successful food retailing executive, Weis and his wife were active philanthropists, supporting both local and international causes. He was a longtime supporter of the United Jewish Appeal and strong supporter of Israel.
In recent years, Weis Markets has donated approximately $6 million to community-based health care organizations, food banks, educational foundations and cultural institutions throughout its five state marketing area. Press Release