Albertsons is a well known American company that specializes in groceries. It’s one of the larger chains of grocers in the country. We were interesting in learning more about the grocery giant. When we began our research we learned some very cool facts about them. There’s a lot about Albertson’s as a company that the average shopper probably doesn’t stop to even think about. To help you know more about this popular store, here are 20 things that you probably didn’t know about Albertsons.
1. The first store was founded in the 1930s
The very first Albertsons opened its doors for business on July 21 of 1939. It was opened by its founder Joe Albertson. The first location was in Boise, Idaho. It gained instant success and acclaim by a prominent figure in the state that was so impressed with the store that he took out a newspaper ad to let everyone know that it was the “largest and finest food store” in the state of Idaho. This was during an era when grocery stores were much different than the ones that we currently enjoy. There weren’t nearly as many perks that went along with them and they didn’t tend to be so large.
2. A monument was erected to honor the first store
Boise is so proud to be the location of the very first Albertsons store that they erected a monument in the original location of the store. It had been the first in the are to offer free parking and a money back guarantee if shoppers were not satisfied with their purchases. The free parking is a given now but the refunds are getting more scarce among grocers. The original store started out as a smaller business, but they added onto it throughout the years. The structure had to be demolished in 1979, but they did build a replacement for the building and there is still an Albertsons in this location. The monument is there to commemorate the first store at 16th and State Streets located in the downtown section of Boise.
3. Albertsons spread throughout Idaho first
Albertsons had been such a big success that the owner was able to reinvest most of the profits right back into the store and turn it into a chain of several grocery stores under the same name. He opened the new stores in nearby towns in the state of Idaho. Locations were opened in Caldwell, Emmett and Nampa. This was prior to the advent of Pearl Harbor which took place in 1941. It’s amazing how Albertson had been able to add three new grocery stores within two years of opening the first location.
4. Albertson had a strategy for placing new stores
Joe Albertson was a very savvy businessman and he had developed a formula for figuring out where to place his next grocery store. He realized that location had a big impact on how successful the venture would be and he wanted to find the optimal location that would draw in the most possible business. He got into his car and he would drive around the town he was considering and check out the neighborhoods. He was looking for homes that had a lot of kids clothing hanging on clothes lines. He knew that this meant that there were families there and that they would be the customers using his store to buy household good and groceries to care for their families. For the times, this was a brilliant strategy and it paid off in aces. These were the neighborhoods that were the best suited for building a new grocery store.
5. Albertsons went public in 1959
The company had grown so large that it met the requirements to be listed as a publicly traded company in 1959. This was just the beginning of their growth through. By 1964, they had expanded into the state of Washington and they opened their 100th store in the chain in Seattle. Two years later, Albertsons broke into Southern California. The Albertsons company acquired a small grocery chain in Orange County, California called Greater All American Markets.
6. Albertsons began new partnerships in 1969
Albertsons formed partnership with Skaggs Drug Centers in 1969. These centers were owned by The Skaggs Companies Inc. This allowed them to be the first grocery chain to combine sales for food and drug stores in one facility. The first combination store was established in Texas. This was a partnership that was a big hit with shoppers because it made their lives more convenient. They could do the grocery shopping and pick up their medical prescriptions at the same time.
7. The partnership with Skaggs ended on a good note
Albertsons and Skaggs Drug Centers had a great working relationship but they had to end the partnership in 1977. The reason for the split was because the combination business was so immense that it became too hard for either of the m to control. They were both so large that neither could buy the other out, so they shook hands and agreed to an amicable dissolve of the partnership. The stores in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas were kept by Skaggs and the Florida, Louisiana and Alabama stores along with a few San Antonio, Texas stores were kept by Albertsons.
8. Albertsons kept expanding and making acquisitions
Albertsons was on a roll with its expansion efforts. They continued adding new locations in the Western part of the United States and they acquired Fazio’s Shopping Bag from its owener Fisher Foods in 1972. This added a total of 46 more stores to their chain all located in the Los Angeles, California area.
9. Albertsons reorganized in 1982
The giant grocery chain had become so large that there was a need to reorganize their operations. They approached the problem by dividing the management of the chain into four distinct regions. These were categorize as the California region, the Northwest region, the Intermountain region and the South region. The stores that were located in Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Alabama were the South stores. They added stores to an area where they previously had none. They entered the Dallas Fort Worth market with three more stores in Austin, Texas n 1984 within months of each other.
10. They entered the Texas market through acquisition
When Albertsons made the decision to expand their presence in Texas beyond the base that was established by Skaggs in the North, they did so through the acquisition of Tom Thumb Stores. There were a total of six of them. The deal was made in 1989 for an undisclosed amount of money. This move effectively expanded the Albertsons grocery chain into areas where there were not stores.
11. Another expansion took place in the 1990s
The 1990s era represented a huge expansion for the Albertsons grocery chain. They acquired a series of stores that were formerly Skaggs Drugs Centers from their owner at the time American Stores. These stores were located in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and in Florida. Some of the stores that they acquired in the deal had initially been the Skaggs Albertsons stores from the original partnership they had formed with Skaggs from years ago. Since that time the stores were re-branded under the name of Jewel-Osco.
12. Albertsons embarked on yet more acquisitions
Albertsons had finally been able to successfully acquire Skaggs. They integrated the new stores into their Southern division. It ha been an easy deal to make and the Albertson’s stock prices soared. They decided to attempt another huge expansion. They embarked on yet more acquisitions later in the decade and purchased Seessels’s along with a total of 14 more stores from Bruno’s. Next, they acquired Buttrey Food & Drug. They were able to expand the Albertsons chain into five new states where they had previously not had a presence because of the purchases. These were Tennessee, North Dakota, Iowa, Georgia and Missouri. they also acquired the Smitty’s chain in Missouri and three Super One Foods markets from Miners Inc.
13. They made their largest acquisition in 1999
Albertsons closed out the 1990s decade with an acquisition that was the largest one they had made as of that time. They purchased American Stores Company. This store was a large chain that had stores in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania under the name of Acme. They previously owned Luck stores in Nevada and California and Jewel Jewel Osco in Iowa, Indiana and Illinois. They also acquired Osco Drug and Sav on Drugs in the deal. This placed Albertsons in the position of being the number one grocery chain in the United States in size. They operated more than 2,500 stores at this point and they had a presence in 37 states.
14. They were knocked into second place by Krogers
Albertsons held the number one position until another massive acquisition by a grocery chain took place. Krogers unseated them and took the number one position when they acquired Fred Meyer. This happened just one month after Albertsons had closed their huge deal.
15. Albertsons was in danger of Anti-Trust violations
In order for the deal for acquiring American Stores Company, the Federal Trade Commission declared that Albertsons would have to sell 146 of their store locations in New Mexico, Nevada and California. This is how close to dominating the grocery chain industry they were. The anti-trust laws are in place to prevent large corporations such as Albertsons from gaining absolute control over the market shares and totally dominating the market niche. They complied in order to make the deal go through.
16. Albertsons made another restructure in 2001
The giant had to make a second restructuring of its districts in 2001. They had multiple large distribution centers along with a division for their drug stores. They also implemented a new structure that included 18 regional division offices. The restructuring continued from 2001 through 2004 as it was a massive undertaking for th grocerty chain giant.
17. They had to close struggling locations
In 2001, Albertsons was experiencing issues with stores that were under-performing. There were a total of 165 stores that failed to make the minimum goals and these were closed. This affected stores across 25 different states. Albertsons also had to cut jobs and reduce the operating divisions that they had just created. These changes were first made to the sectors in Idaho, Utah and Montana divisions. The were brought back into the Intermountain division. Many more such changes were made to re-consolidate the new divisions that had been made when they were at the apex of their growth.
18. Albertsons had a failed acquisition in 2018
In February of 2018, Albertsons made an announcement that they planned to acquire Rite Aid. They had huge plans to rebrand their Osco and Sav on pharmacies as Rite Aid pharmacies. The deal was cancelled because shareholders were not happy with the proposition so the deal didn’t go through.
19. The Federal Trade Commission was watching Albertsons
The FTC is always on the lookout for companies that grow too large and pose a threat for gaining a monopoly in a sector of the market. Albertsons poses a constant threat. They had hoped that the up and coming Haggen chain from the Pacific Northwest would present a bit of competition. Haggen had acquired 146 of the Vons, Safeway, Albertsons and Pavilions stores which Albertsons had to see to avoid yet another anti-trust potentiality. This didn’t turn out as well as the FTC had hoped when Haggen was forced to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy soon after the purchases.
20. Albertsons used to have an apostrophe
Here is a fun fact that we learned about Albertsons. They used to use an apostrophe in their name. The apostrophe was removed from their name in 2002 when they changed the corporate name. We’re not sure if this was for the sake of saving room or if it was a typo on the application, but it was officially changed to drop the punctuation mark and the rest is history.