Nisha Rathode (Editor)

John Geisse

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Occupation  Businessman
Spouse(s)  Mary Wakeen
Name  John Geisse

John Geisse wwwgeisseorgpicturesGEISSEJFG1988WholesaleClubjpg
Full Name  John Francis Geisse
Born  1921Madison, Wisconsin
Died  February 21, 1992, Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Education  United States Naval Academy

John Francis Geisse (September 1, 1920 – February 21, 1992) was an American businessman, the founder of three successful retail chains: Target Discount Stores; Venture Stores; and The Wholesale Club, which merged in 1991 with Sam’s Club.


Early life and education

Geisse was born on September 1, 1920 in Madison, Wisconsin, the son of aeronautical inventor John Harlin and Esther (née Wattawa) Geisse. He grew up in the Washington DC area and attended the United States Naval Academy with the Class of 1942, until the attack on Pearl Harbor prompted an early graduation in December 1941. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy in both the Pacific and Atlantic theaters. He left the service in 1947 as a lieutenant commander.

Retail industry career

After leaving the military, he moved to Minneapolis, where he began his retail career working for Dayton's.

In 1962, along with Douglas Dayton, he founded and launched the Target Stores for the Dayton Company, now known as Target Corporation. In 1968, he left Target Stores and was subsequently hired by May Department Stores, where he founded the Venture chain. In 1975, he "retired" from Mays and Venture and became chairman of the struggling Ayr-Way Stores in Indianapolis. After he turned around Ayr-Way Stores, he became a long time consultant to his friend Sam Walton and Wal-Mart Stores, Ames Department Stores, and others. In 1982, he founded his third chain, a warehouse club named The Wholesale Club, that inspired Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. to create its Sam's Club division in 1983. In 1991, he sold The Wholesale Club store chain to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., where it was merged with Sam's Club.


He authored the Better Quality Upscale Discount Store Concept in America and was inducted into the Discount Store News Discount Hall of Fame in 1984. S

Sam Walton, who often consulted Geisse, called him "a pioneer in innovative retailing concepts."

Personal life

Geisse was married to the former Mary Ann Weeken. Together they had ten children.

Geisse died of a heart attack in Indianapolis in 1992. He was laid to rest in Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, near his parents.


John Geisse Wikipedia

Similar Topics
Personal Maid
Samuel Beltz
Ted Rall