It co-founded Turkey's largest retailer, Migros Türk, which became independent of Migros Switzerland in 1975.
The name comes from the French "mi" for half or mid-way and "gros", which means wholesale. Thus the word connotes prices that are halfway between retail and wholesale. The logo of the company is a large orange M, which some Swiss newspapers call "the orange giant" (German: oranger Riese, French: géant orange, Italian: gigante arancio).
Migros was founded in 1925 in Zürich as a private enterprise by Gottlieb Duttweiler, who had the idea of selling just six basic foodstuffs at low prices to householders who, in those days, did not have ready access to markets of any kind. At first he sold only coffee, rice, sugar, pasta, coconut fat and soap from five lorries that went from one village or hamlet to another. The strategy to cut the intermediate trade and their margins led to the broad resistance of his competitors who goaded the producers to boycott him. As a reaction to this threat, Migros started creating its own line of goods beginning with meat, milk and chocolate.
Later he and his drivers expanded their inventory and, in 1926, Gottlieb Duttweiler built his first market, also in Zürich. His second store, in Ticino, presaged the future as it was founded as a cooperative. By 1941, the energetic entrepreneur had built a number of markets but, in that year, he basically gave the business to his customers by transforming everything from his privately owned enterprises into regional cooperatives, headed by the Federation of Migros Cooperatives (German: Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund, French: Fédération des coopératives Migros, Italian: Federazione delle cooperative Migros).
As early as 1935, Duttweiler showed his zest for expansion by founding the Hotelplan travel agency. In 1942, the Migros brand was applied to a weekly magazine, Wir Brückenbauer (now known as Migros Magazin). Other ventures were restaurants in 1952, gasoline stations (Migrol) in 1954, language schools (Eurocentres) in 1956, the Migros Bank in 1957 and an insurance company in 1959.