John Niven: Van Camp Packing Company, Cummins Engine Company, Purity Stores, Ltd., and Family


John David Noll is the author of A Noll Chronicle. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.


This is the story of John Niven, founder of Purity Stores—a chain of grocery stores across California as far south as Fresno and as far north as Yreka. Established in the San Francisco area in 1925, this chain operated most of its stores along the Pacific coastline, many of them in small towns. In John Niven, explore John Niven’s career as he starts with Van Camp Packing Company. From there, he joins Cummins Engines with notable businessmen Clessie Cummins, William G. Irwin, and A. D. Lasker, before founding Purity Stores. Author John David Noll, a grandson of John Niven, traces the history of this successful businessman through newspaper articles, correspondence, and family chronicles as John faces challenges from the Great Depression, World War II, warehouse strikes, price wars, unions, and expansion pressures from competitors.


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