Charles Genuardi, the oldest of the five Genuardi brothers who ran the family grocery business until 1990 when they transferred control to the next generation, died last Friday at the age of 102.

The family business traces back to 1920, when Charles’ parents, Gaspare and Josephine, grew vegetables on a small farm in Norristown and delivered them by horse and wagon to their neighbors. In the 1930s, the family opened a corner store, and then a “superette,” or small supermarket, in the 1940s in Jeffersonville (West Norriton).

The Genuardi’s chain of stores was founded in 1954, and for 36 years the five brothers (four other siblings were not involved) developed the company into one of the largest and most respected independent supermarket businesses in the Delaware Valley.

Under the leadership of Charles’ son, Charles A., the number of stores nearly doubled between 1990 and 2000, and in 2001 the company was sold to Safeway.