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Flickinger Family Firsts

Retail Franchising and Horizontally & Vertically Integrated Private Label

Burt P. Flickinger III, the Managing Director of Strategic Resource Group, is a great-grandson of S.M. Flickinger, the founder of the first international retail franchised business in history and the first full-line vertically and horizontally integrated private label program (North American and worldwide). 


S. M. Flickinger and Burt Flickinger Sr. founded Red & White in 1921 and helped J. Frank Grimes co-found IGA in 1926. The Flickingers founded Red & White with thousands of stores in the U.S. and Canada, as well as worldwide. 

Members of the family co-founded Rexall Drug stores (where Joe Columbe founded Pronto and Trader Joe's stores): Woolworths and Foot Locker, as well as opened the first Jamesway discount department stores, a forerunner of Walmart.

The businesses were based on the Biblical Golden Rule principle of “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” The Flickinger Company owned and managed both the Anheuser Busch and Hiram Walker distributorships in New York State. 

IGA, Red & White, Rexall Drug, Trader Joe's, Woolworths, Footlocker, Federated Foods, & "The Golden Rule"

In 1899, S.M. (Smith Michael) Flickinger founded S.M. Flickinger, Inc., and Federated Foods, the nation’s first vertically and horizontally integrated farming to manufacturing to wholesale to retail businesses, with fully integrated farm-to-factory-to-store-to-family table distribution. It was the first international voluntary retail association with store equity partnerships for voluntary retail chains, co-op retail chains, and independent R&D chain retailers.

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Federated Foods & Private Label

S.M. founded Federated Foods and Red & White Private Label Companies and worldwide stores, which Burt, Sr., Glenn Flickinger, and their sons Burt Jr., Peter, Tom, and Bill, and donated to endow, build and later expand the modern University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. 

FDR, World War I & II, NBA, NHL & NWHL

After S.M. Flickinger helped President Wilson run the food distribution effort in World War I, Burt P. Flickinger, Sr. helped President D. Roosevelt run the World War II U.S. food distribution effort from 1941 – 1945. 

Burt P. Flickinger Jr. was a founding board member of the NBA’s Buffalo Braves, now the Los Angeles Clippers. Robert “Bob” Flickinger, was CEO of Service Systems and Del Monte, and was President of the National Hotel & Restaurant Association. Bob Flickinger graduated from Cornell University’s Hotel School. Bob Flickinger was a founding board member of the Buffalo Sabres NHL team. 

Burt P. Flickinger III and Catherine Flickinger Schweitzer are working with Hall of Fame Legend Digit D. Murphy on the new Toronto Six team, which will be the first Canadian team to compete in the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL).

Information Technology

First Debit Cards & In-Store Banking

Burt P. Flickinger III co-chaired the development of the first Debit Cards and InstaBank systems. Burt III was a key catalyst in Food, Drug, Discount, and Retail Warehouse Clubs accepting GPC (General Purpose Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express), and converting U.S. Consumers from using primarily cash and checks at retail to Debit and/or Credit Cards.

Burt P. Flickinger, Jr., a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University, won the prestigious NAWGA-SMI award for four consecutive years for managing the most efficient distribution and voluntary retail chain business in the U.S. He pioneered retail financing and co-equity retail partnerships, in-store banking, sports marketing and television advertising for both exclusive brand, retail & wholesale growth. 

Sustainability & Recycling

Burt P. Flickinger III is an industry leader in Rooftop Solar, Solar for Business, Solar/renewables, and sustainability. His father, Burt Flickinger, Jr. led the retail and consumer brand industry’s efforts to pass essential legislation for environmental sustainability and ubiquitous recycling, both multi-regionally and nationally. He also initiated the landmark bill to sell wine beverages in supermarkets and superstores to support farmers and regional businesses. He was Chairman of the New York State Food Merchants Association and was a NYS FIA (Food Industry Alliance) Board Member for nearly 30 years.

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Food Box

Community Leadership & Initiatives

The Flickinger Family has been pioneers and leaders in Food Banks to address food vulnerability in impoverished communities. 

Burt P. Flickinger III served as Co-Leader & Active Participant in the El Guacio Mission in the mountains of Puerto Rico and co-founded initiatives in the Big Brothers and Big Sisters project in impoverished communities with The Lawrence Project in Lawrence-Lowell-Haverhill, Massachusetts (in the Merrimack River Region). Burt III also served as Co-Leader & Active Participant in The Smith Street Project in economically and educationally challenged areas of impoverished Poughkeepsie, NY, as well as his family's multigenerational initiatives at Westminster House in Buffalo, NY.

Revolutionary Procurement Practices

Burt III and Burt Jr. pioneered revolutionary procurement practices — including regional, national and international buying and transshipments — to give both retailers and Consumers the best “net landed” cost/price nationally and internationally and the fairest pricing in every market. 

World University Games

As U.S. Chairman, Burt Flickinger, Jr. led the successful effort to bring the World University Games, the largest global amateur athletic event – 10,000 athletes – to the United States for the first time. Athletes from oppressed countries declared their freedom after the Games and some became successful pro athletes (e.g. Rey Ordóñez of the NY Mets) after leaving from the back of the stadium after their last World University Game. 


United Way

Flickinger led the United Way to 30 years of consecutive growth in the business division as Chairman and, as Chairman of the Board(s), led the successful capital campaigns to save the world-renowned Women’s and Children’s Hospital and to help save the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO). 

Athletic Centers

Burt Flickinger, Jr. raised the public funds to build the University of Buffalo (U.B.) Football Stadium and Erie College's internationally renowned Flickinger Aquatic and Athletic Center, where numerous U.S. and international sporting events are held. Burt Flickinger, Jr. received an Honorary Doctorate of Business Degree from the University of Buffalo. He was on the Board of the Boy Scouts of Western New York for more than 30 years and was a trustee of Westminster Church. 

Cornell Entrepreneurship Program & Boards

Burt Flickinger, III is on the Executive Advisory Council of Cornell’s Undergraduate Dyson School of Business, as well as Cornell’s world-renowned Entrepreneurship Program. The co-founders of the program, Dr. Wendell Earle and Sam Seltzer, also asked Burt to be a Co-Founding Board Member. Burt remains a charter member of Cornell's Board on Entrepreneurship, (for nearly 30 years) which developed the fully integrated Cornell graduate and undergraduate program led by legendary Director John P. Jaquette, Jr., and exceptional Executive Director Zach Shuman, Esq. 

Burt III served on Vassar College President Frances Fergusson's Leadership Council. At Vassar, Burt was the only student to be re-elected to an all-campus student government (S.G.A.) executive leadership office (re-elected four times).


Burt served four years on the Student Government's Executive Committee and was responsible for working with Thompson (Main) Library's (see website) Director to create a 24-hour operating library throughout the school year.

Burt co-created close community relations with at-risk communities in the city of Poughkeepsie, NY. Flickinger was a key co-founding leader of The Hudson Valley College & University of Student Leaders at Bard, Bennett, Dutchess, Marist, SUNY New Paltz, and Vassar. Burt served on the Editorial Board and was a columnist for The Miscellany News. (see website). He chaired the Concert Committee (8-10 major concerts per year, e.g. Final Big Band dance concerts of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, as well as Earth, Wind & Fire, Bonnie Raitt, et al., see link here and below: Flickinger Family Sports and Music), the Film Committee (100 films per year), and the Dance Outdoor Concert Committee (including Anthony Bourdain's Quacky Duck Concert with Tony Bennett's sons: Danny & Dae Bennett, and Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder guitarist, David Mansfield). 

At Vassar, Burt earned 12 Varsity sports letters and was a member of the team that defeated West Point's Varsity.

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