Wholey's Market - Our History

Our mission is to create happy customers by selling the freshest product at the best prices, in a friendly, fun atmosphere.

History of the Robert Wholey Company

The original Robert Wholey Company was founded in 1912 in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania. The store was opened by Robert L. Wholey and sold live poultry, meats, sausages, and coffees.

Robert L.’s son, Robert C. worked with his father selling the various products and handling live poultry. Showing the entrepreneurial spirit that would be evident for the rest of his life, Robert C. established some businesses of his own, such as selling live Christmas trees and running fresh fruit and vegetable stands while still in his teenage years.

In 1948, Robert C. returned home from serving as a Captain in World War II and opened the Robert Wholey Company Poultry Market in the Diamond Market in downtown Pittsburgh. He sold fresh poultry, including dressed chicken, eggs, duck, and turkey. In 1955, he began his popular chicken barbeques.

In 1959, the Diamond Market area was converted to a park by the city of Pittsburgh. This area is now known as Market Square. Robert C. then moved his business to its present location at 1711 Penn Avenue in the area known as the Strip District. At that time, the Strip District was a bustling warehouse district where trains moved in and out continually delivering foodstuffs to the Pittsburgh market, especially fresh produce. There was none of the retail or entertainment facilities that exist today.

In 1960, Robert added fresh fish and seafood to his already expansive fresh poultry business. He began importing fresh and frozen seafood from all over the United States and from around the world to supply both his retail and wholesale customers. To help attract more foot traffic in the strip, the store began hosting many fun events and attractions.

Although Robert had a thriving wholesale business for years, in order to improve service and add convenience to his ever-growing customer base, Robert hired a fleet of trucks in 1961 to make deliveries directly to their doors and, in 1976, Wholey’s expanded their product line once again by adding fresh meat.

In 1980, the Robert Wholey Company purchased the Federal Cold Storage building located at 1501 Penn Avenue. They opened the business as New Federal Cold Storage and began storing frozen products for their customers. The wholesale division, as well as the company headquarters, were also moved to this building at that time.

In 1988, The Wholeys expanded again. In order to keep up with the increased demand for Wholey Whiting, the fish that Wholey’s had been known for throughout the tri-state area for years, Robert created the Wholey International division. Through Wholey International, Wholey Whiting and other products are packed and distributed under the Wholey label nation-and worldwide.

In 1997, the Wholey brothers, building on the business that New Federal Cold Storage bought, opened Western Pennsylvania’s largest cold storage facility located in Cranberry Township. Companies from all over the country store their products in this facility for distribution through Pennsylvania and neighboring states.

For over 100 years, the Robert Wholey & Co., Inc. has been, and will continue to be, proud to be dedicated to serving their customers’ needs with only the finest and freshest seafood, fish, meat, and poultry available anywhere.