BBB Marks Centennial Anniversary Today

May 19, 2017

BBB LogoSt. Louis Better Business Bureau (BBB) recognizes its 100th anniversary today. The local BBB was founded on May 22, 1917 by the Advertising Club of Greater St. Louis and a group of 40 vigilante business leaders during a meeting at the historic Statler Hotel for the purpose of establishing Truth in Advertising Standards.

As the fifth locally established BBB (following Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Cleveland), the new St. Louis organization hit the ground running in its pursuit of truth and honesty in advertising practices of local businesses and trade groups. 

In those early years, BBB launched investigations into snake-oil salesmen, counterfeit mink furs, suit lotteries, countless bait-and-switch schemes and companies that sold overpriced stock. Over the decades, St. Louis BBB has continued aiding consumers and combating marketplace dishonesty.

In 2016, St. Louis BBB broke records by serving more than 10 million consumers and businesses. BBB challenged 363 local ad claims that appeared to be in violation of BBB’s Code of Advertising or state or federal laws and requested those companies to cease using the ads, modify them or offer substantiation to support their claims. BBB also issued 143 press releases, including 52 that warned of substandard business practices uncovered in some of the 278 investigations conducted for the benefit of the public.

Beyond offering the public BBB’s Request-A-Quote, mediation and customer review services, BBB’s success has been made possible in part by the usage of sophisticated strategies that aim to curtail the dangers modern technology may pose to consumers.

Annual Shred Day events, which provide document destruction, have helped drive down the instances of ID theft in St. Louis, while applications — such as the new online Scam Tracker tool — provide consumers with a reliable source for detecting the types of schemes that trend in their area.

This year, St. Louis BBB will be holding several events to celebrate its centennial anniversary. Today, cupcakes will be served to the tenants of Metropolitan Square from 7:30-9:00 a.m. Later in the day, St. Louis BBB will host its Board of Directors and committee members for a reception to commemorate the occasion from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

On Thursday, Oct. 19, the celebration will continue at BBB’s TORCH Awards & Centennial event. Exemplary Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois companies will be presented with awards confirming their accomplishments. Founding St. Louis BBB members, The Advertising Club of Greater St. Louis, Caleres (formerly Brown Shoe Company) and with 50 businesses that have given 50 years of continued support will be recognized during a luncheon from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m. The event will take place at Statler Hotel, where it was announced 100 years ago that a BBB would be established to advance marketplace trust in the St. Louis region.   

For more about BBB, visit or call 314-645-3300.

St. Louis Area Media Contacts: Chris Thetford, Vice President-Communications, (314) 584-6743 or (314) 681-4719 (cell), cthetford@stlouisbbb.orgShellie Kreter, PR & Communications Manager, (314) 584-6723 or (314) 348-5451 (cell), skreter@stlouisbbb.orgMichelle Corey, President and CEO, (314) 584-6800,

About BBB

BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit for more information.