Sylvan N. Goldman

Sylvan N. Goldman

Born in Ardmore, Oklahoma, Sylvan Goldman began working in his father’s mercantile as a young boy. At the age of 16, he moved on to the family wholesale business where he worked until enlisting in the U.S. Army to serve in World War I.

After the war, he and older brother Alfred opened Goldman Brother's Wholesale Fruits and Produce in Breckenridge, Texas. Later, he moved to California to learn about a new type of grocery story that offered all products under one roof - the supermarket. The brothers returned to Oklahoma, bringing with them a new way of shopping and opening Sun Grocery Company in Tulsa in 1920. The chain rapidly grew and the Goldmans sold to Skaggs-Safeway Stores, before purchasing the Humpty-Dumpty grocery chain.

In 1931, he married Margaret "Babe" Katz, whose family founded Katz Department Store in Stillwater. During their 53-year marriage, they raised two sons and were active members of Temple B'Nai Israel.

In 1936, while serving as president of Standard Food Markets and Humpty-Dumpty Super Market chains, a folding chair gave Mr. Goldman the idea for folding shopping baskets. He had prototypes made and started using them in his own stores, and the idea caught on. He patented his invention and founded Folding Basket Carrier Co. to manufacture the shopping cart.

After returning to Oklahoma, Mr. Goldman's passion for the community fueled a friendship with Oklahoma City Community Foundation founder John Kirkpatrick and spurred him to become one of the nine original Trustees, serving from 1969-78. In 1973, he established a fund at the Community Foundation to support a variety of charitable causes important to him. Sylvan and Babe died within one week of each other in 1984.

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