The Hinky Dinky grocery store chain was started by Jule, Henry and Albert Newman, brothers, and Ben Silver, a cousin, in Omaha in 1925. Another supermarket chain already existing was called Piggly Wiggly. Hoping to take advantage of the public's affection for a cute name (Piggly Wiggly was very successful) they came up with “Hinky-Dinky” (citation needed), which was taken from the World War I song, “Hinky Dinky Parlez-vous” (see Mademoiselle from Armentières).
In 1972, Hinky Dinky was purchased by Cullum Companies of Dallas, which operated the Tom Thumb grocery chain. At its peak, Hinky Dinky operated approximately 50 stores. But Cullum was using profits from Hinky Dinky to support the operations of the Tom Thumb stores, and comparatively little reinvestment was made in the Hinky Dinky stores. A 1984 strike by unionized workers also hurt revenue. By the mid-1980s many Hinky Dinky stores had been sold or closed, leaving only a handful of stores in scattered locations. Ron Badley purchased the Hinky Dinky name and several stores from Cullum in 1985. In 2000 the remaining stores were sold to grocery distributor Nash Finch, which dropped the name on all of the stores.
In popular culture
- In the television series Better Call Saul, Season 2 Episode 6 'Inflatable' (2016), Kim Wexler mentions the chain by saying that if she didn't leave her hometown she would probably be married to the guy who ran the town gas station, and maybe working as a cashier at Hinky Dinky
- "Nash Finch Purchasing Hinky Dinky," Omaha World-Herald, January 18, 2000
- "Big Tom Thumb," Supermarket News, September 28, 1998
- Minnesota-Based Nash Finch to Buy Omaha, Neb.-Based Grocery Chain, Supermarket News, January 24, 2000. Retrieved on May 8, 2007
- Cash in Supermarkets, Time, June 9, 1975. Retrieved on June 12, 2007
- Hinky Dinky.net - Hinky Dinky history
- hinkydinky-dsm.com - Hiinky Dinky - Des Moines - store reunion site
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