Monday, August 18, 2008

Ralphs' Remarkable Roster, 1940

I've been out of town on business, followed by a few days off to visit friends and family and take a long overdue hike in the Western N.C. mountains. Looking forward to digging deeper into the history of Ralphs, that Southern California grocery gem, in the next few days. In the meantime, here's a 1940 advertising spread showing the wonderful mix of Spanish Colonial Revival and Art Deco stores (with a Victorian thrown in for good measure) that the chain was operating at the time.

Thanks to Jeff for bringing us up to date on the current status of the pictured stores, which can be seen in the comments section of this post.


  1. Wow, amazing. Looking at these photos, many buildings still exist:
    3465 6th St
    2791 Pico (Sadly, remodeled heavily it looks)
    1142 Westwood Bl
    2601 Pasadena Ave
    3617 Washington
    240 San Fernando, Burbank

    Sadly, some are gone:
    5711 Hollywood Bl
    4641 Santa Monica (replaced with a large Ralphs, now Staples)
    7813 Vermont
    3550 Vermont
    926 W 7th
    6121 Pico
    7257 Sunset (Ralphs is still on the site)\
    4366 Figueroa (Ralphs built new store, now vacant)
    5615 Wishire (Ralphs new store on site)
    400 Western (Ralphs built new store, now Korean Church)
    2651 Florence, HP
    Manchester At Crenshaw. May Be there still to the left of the Academy Theatre. Not sure though.
    Philadelphia and Comstock, Whititer
    171 Lake, was a Market Basket, now a Ralphs again.
    2024 10th st.

  2. What a great ad! Wouldn't it have been great if all grocery chains had done ads like this?

  3. Those are remarkable buildings even today. I always say the Ralphs of the era have a quality that lacks today. The art moderne stores are very much like the old Publix stores in Florida from the same era. What are the chances of such a coincendence that two chains in the extreme southeast and southwest would evolve similar designs?

  4. Jeff- Thanks for the update on the current status of the stores! I'll make a note on the post.

    Didi - I have a few from other chains that I need to post one of these days. I agree, it's a really neat effect when they're all shown together.

    Ken - Very good point. Ralphs' deco stores preceded the first Publix decos by just a few years. I think the parallels between Ralphs and Publix extend to a number of other areas as well, including innovation and customer loyalty. Probably more so with Publix since they've managed to remain independent all of these years.

  5. Awsome find. That 1940s posting of all the Ralphs Stores is great. It revealed a couple of things that I never really realized. First, I am confused as to the 3617 Washington location. I always thought that this was only a Ralpsh Bakery Factory buidling. My Dad worked there in the 1940's/early 1950's in the bakery. Unfortunately I never got to ask him about it. I read in a Supermarket book that vaguely mentions a retail outlet, and emphasizes the bakery factory. Looking at the poster that you posted, I now think it was a market with the bakery on top.
    (I took some pictures of the building and posted them on Flickr as Tortuga One.)

    Second, The Chapman Market was a Ralphs! I am amazed as I read
    read in that same Supermarket book about the Chapman Market, but it glossed over the Ralphs part.

    Thanks for all the wonder items on your site. Tortuga One

  6. Tortuga One - Thanks, and those are great photos you took of the Washington Av. site. The terra cotta detailing (I'm guessing that what it is)still looks great! The store was opened in 1926 and the bakery was there at least as far back as 1939 (maybe it was there when it opened, I don't know). Here's a link to a great shot that shows the location as it looked in 1956: