Six Things You Didn’t Know About Ralphs

The popular chain is the oldest line of supermarkets west of the Mississippi

Wikimedia Commons/ Coolcaesar
Ralph's was founded in 1873.

Ralphs holds a special place in the hearts of many Californians, and with good reason: it’s a really good supermarket. Here are some facts you might not have known about the biggest supermarket chain west of the Mississippi:

There’s a Reason Why There’s No Apostrophe
It’s not Ralph’s, it’s Ralphs. This is because it was founded by a man named George Albert Ralphs. While he was a very successful businessman, his story is ultimately tragic: he became a grocer after losing a hand in a hunting accident, and died at age 63 due to complications after a boulder rolled over him.

The Chain is Really Old
Ralphs was founded in 1873; the original location was on Sixth and Spring Street in Los Angeles.

Their Architecture is Renowned
Early Ralphs were designed by notable architects; the one built in Westwood Village in 1929 was photographed by Ansel Adams, was declared a Historic Cultural Monument, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It was Groundbreaking
The chain was one of the first to have a “self-serve” format, as well as multiple checkout lanes.

They’re Owned by Kroger
It’s the largest subsidiary of the Cincinnati-based chain, which took over the company when it merged with then-owner Fred Meyer, Inc. in 1998.

The Dude Abides
Ralphs makes a couple of cameos in The Big Lebowski, including in the very first scene, when The Dude (Jeff Bridges) writes a check for a container of milk. His Ralphs card is also his only form of ID.



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