Fleming Companies was founded as Lux Mercantile in Topeka, Kansas, in 1915 by O. A. Fleming, Gene Wilson and Samuel Lux. In 1921 the company's name was changed to Fleming-Wilson, and in 1941, the company name was changed to The Fleming Company, and Ned Fleming, son of O.A., was named president, chairman, and CEO. The company's IPO occurred in 1959, when 100,000 shares were offered. In 1981, R.D. Harrsion was elected Chairman and CEO of the company, with Dean Werries serving as President and COO. Starting in the 1960s, Fleming Companies began acquiring numerous grocery wholesalers and retailers, and it grew to become the nation's largest supplier of consumer packaged goods to U.S. retailers, serving approximately 50,000 retail locations. These locations included supermarkets such as IGA, convenience stores, supercenters, discount stores, concessions, limited assortment, drug, specialty, casinos, gift shops, military commissaries and exchanges and others. In the early 1990s, Fleming was the largest food wholesaler in the United States. The company served more than 3,500 supermarkets and other retail food stores in 42 states and the District of Columbia.
Fleming became the nation's largest grocery wholesaler in 1991 with its purchase of Furr's Supermarkets; it lost that title in 1992 to SuperValu, but regained it in 1994 after its purchase of fellow Oklahoma City firm Scrivner Inc., the third-largest wholesaler.