Joseph T. May, then 20, first came to Fremont to found a small retail grocery, Staples and Fancy Groceries, at Sixth and Broad Streets. His brother Jacob K May also came to Fremont in 1869 to form the May Brothers Groceries and moved the store to Sixth and Park Avenue (then called F Street). In about 1878 William Lew May and Charles H May joined their brothers in Fremont.
The company was first established in 1868 as a retail grocery store at the southeast corner of Sixth Street and Park Avenue. Three of the brothers, Joseph T. May, Jacob K. May (Jake) and William L. May were the original founders, and they were joined a few years later by the fourth brother, Charles H. May.