- The Sam Seelig Company was
founded in April 1912 by Sam Seelig, who had come to California from Arizona in 1911, opened a single grocery store in Los Angeles. The
chain had grown to 71 stores by 1922. After World War I, the firm became deeply indebted to its main grocery wholesaler, a firm owned by
W.R.H. Weldon. In a swap of stock for debt, Weldon assumed control of the chain, leaving Seelig in charge of retail operations. Seelig left
the company in 1924 to enter the real estate business, forming Sam Seelig Realty. After Seelig's departure the name was changed to Safeway.
By 1926, Safeway Stores had 322 stores centered in Southern California. Weldon saw himself as a wholesaler, and sold his 80% of the business
for $3.5 million to Merrill Lynch in deal brokered by Charles E. Merrill.
Skaggs Stores had its start in 1915, when Marion Barton Skaggs purchased his father's 576-square-foot (53.5 m2) grocery store in American
Falls, Idaho, for $1,089. The chain, which operated as two separate businesses, Skaggs' Cash Stores and Skaggs United Stores, grew quickly,
and Skaggs enlisted the help of his five brothers to help grow the network of stores, which reached 191 by 1920. Charlie Merrill recognized
the potential to consolidate the West Coast grocery industry. In June 1926, Merrill offered Skaggs either $7 million outright or $1.5 million
plus 30,000 shares in the merged firm. Skaggs took the latter. On July 1, 1926, Safeway merged with the 673 stores from Skaggs United Stores
of Idaho and Skaggs Cash Stores of California.
On completion of the Skaggs/Safeway merger, M.B. Skaggs became the Chief Executive of the business. The merger immediately created the largest
chain of grocery stores west of the Mississippi. Charles E. Merrill later left Merrill Lynch, for a period of time, to assist in the
management of Safeway during the 1930s. Safeway relocated its headquarters to a former grocery warehouse in Oakland, California. While
Seelig/Safeway was technically the original company, Safeway has always considered M.B. Skaggs the founder and the American Falls store the
Over the next few years, Charles Merrill, with financing supplied by Merrill Lynch, then began aggressively acquiring numerous regional
grocery store chains for Safeway in a rollup strategy. Early acquisitions included significant parts of Piggly Wiggly chain as part of the
breakup of that company by Merrill Lynch and Wall Street.
Following a hostile takeover bid in 1980 from corporate raiders Herbert and Robert Haft, the chain was acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts
(KKR) acting as a white knight in 1986. With the assistance of KKR, the company was taken private and assumed tremendous debt. To pay off this
debt, the company began selling off a large number of its operating divisions. In Southern California, Safeway sold its stores to Vons in
exchange for a 30% interest in the company, pulling completely out of established markets like Los Angeles and San Diego, and diminishing
operations in Fresno, Modesto, Stockton, and Sacramento. Save Mart Supermarkets purchased the few remaining Fresno Safeway stores in 1996.
Safeway's national presence was now reduced to several western states and Northern California, plus the Washington, D.C. area. Altogether,
nearly half the 2,200 stores in the chain were sold. The greatest concentration of Safeway branches is in California, with 557 stores
(including the 285 branded as Vons), If you count them, you'll find 22 Safeway Stores in Stockton over the years. There are only two Safeway
stores open in Stockton today
Trying to make sense of the Albertsons / Haggen / Lucky / Pavilions / Save Mart / Safeway / Vons Merry-go-round
Albertsons was founded by Joe Albertson on July 21, 1939 in Boise, Idaho
In 1999, Albertsons made its biggest acquisition yet: American Stores Company, which included the chains ACME in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware; Lucky in California and Nevada; Jewel and Jewel-Osco in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Michigan, and two pharmacy chains: Osco Drug and Sav-on Drugs. The acquisition briefly made Albertsons the largest American food and drug operator, with over 2,500 stores (including stand-alone drug stores) in 37 states, until Kroger's acquisition of Fred Meyer closed the following month. To make the acquisition, Albertsons was forced by anti-trust concerns to sell 146 stores, primarily in California, Nevada, and New Mexico.
Lucky Super Markets
In southern California, there were already Albertsons, so in order to not have two banners in the same area, Lucky stores were converted to the Albertsons banner in November 1999, and the Lucky brand name was retired
in all but the San Francisco Bay Area.
Save Mart Super Markets
In November 2006, Save Mart Supermarkets acquired Albertsons' Northern California and Northern Nevada locations and began operating the stores in February 2007. The company gradually converted all the stores to its Save Mart banner, except for stores in the San Francisco Bay area, which were rebranded as Lucky.
Most of the Albertsons locations had originally been branded as Lucky before Albertson's 1999 purchase of American Stores.
On January 10, 2013, it was announced that Supervalu was selling New Albertsons (Albertsons and the ASC purchased stores) to Cerberus Capital Management, which own the rest of the Albertsons stores. Since then, the Albertsons LLC-owned stores have come into the fold. In February 23, 2013, Albertsons LLC announced it would split operations of the combined chain into five divisions: Northwestern, Intermountain, Southern California, Southern, and Southwestern.
In December 2014, Albertsons announced that the Haggen Company, a Bellingham, WA based grocery chain, was buying 146 Safeway, Albertsons and Vons stores, as required by the antitrust review of the merger. On January 30, 2015, Albertsons officially acquired Safeway Inc. after being cleared by the FTC, thus giving it control of the Safeway store banners, including Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs Safeway, Vons, and Pavilions, plus Safeway's 49% share of Casa Ley, a Mexican grocery chain. Following the merger, Albertsons announced the new company would have 14 divisions led by three regional offices.
In April 1915, Marion Barton Skaggs purchased his father's 576-square-foot grocery store in American Falls, Idaho, for $1,089. The chain, which operated as two separate businesses, Skaggs Cash Stores and Skaggs United Stores, grew quickly, and Skaggs enlisted the help of his five brothers to help grow the network of stores. M.B.'s business strategy, to give his customers value and to expand by keeping a narrow profit margin, proved spectacularly successful. By 1926, he had opened 428 Skaggs stores in 10 states. M.B. almost doubled the size of his business that year when he merged his company with 322 Safeway stores and incorporated as Safeway, Inc
On February 19, 2014, Safeway began to explore selling itself, and as of February 21, 2014 it was in advanced negotiations with Cerberus Capital Management. On March 6, 2014, Cerberus (parent company of Albertsons) announced it would purchase Safeway for $9.4 billion in a deal expected to close in the 4th quarter of the year. On July 25, 2014, Safeway stockholders approved the merger with Albertsons.
Vons is a Southern California and Southern Nevada supermarket chain owned by Albertsons. It is headquartered in Fullerton, California, and operates stores under the Vons and Pavilions banners.
Charles Von der Ahe opened a 20-foot wide store named Von's Groceteria in downtown Los Angeles, California, in 1906. The business had grown to 87 stores by 1928, when he sold the operation to MacMarr Stores. MacMarr was acquired by M.B. Skaggs' Safeway in 1930. In 1932, his sons Theodore and Wilfred restarted the Von's Grocery Company.
In October 1985, Vons introduced Pavilions, a "combination store" concept which offered a wider variety of upscale products as well as pharmacy and other non-food products and services. Some stores that were smaller were branded Pavilions Place.
In 1988, Safeway sold most of its stores in southern California and southern Nevada to Vons in exchange for an ownership stake. In April 1997, Safeway exercised its option to acquire full control of the company, and Vons has since operated as a subsidiary. Most of the Safeway brands and advertising campaigns are used by the Vons stores.
SAFEWAY/PIGGLY WIGGLY was the first true self-service grocery store. It was founded on September 6, 1916, at 79 Jefferson Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee, by Clarence Saunders
In 1928 Safeway acquired Piggly Wiggly Pacific with 91 grocery stores and 84 meat markets
On February 19, 2014, Safeway began to explore selling itself. On March 6, 2014 Cerberus Capital Management (which also owns rival grocery chain Albertsons) announced it would purchase Safeway for $9.4 billion in a deal expected to close in the 4th quarter of the year.
In March 2014, Cerberus Capital Management (which also owns rival grocery chain Albertsons) agreed to terms to purchase Vons' parent, Safeway. Cerberus' plans to merge the chains would likely result in store closures, especially with both Vons and Albertsons having a significant presence in Southern California.
In late 2014, the FTC mandated that the new Albertson's/Safeway merger sell off almost 200 stores to allow for sufficient competition in markets where both Safeway and Albertson's stores had existed in price rivalry.
One of the key buyers was Bellingham, Washington-based Haggen grocers which rebranded the newly purchased stores in Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, and Nevada in early 2015 only to closed the affected stores just months later after Haggen was forced into bankruptcy as a result of purchasing the new stores
In January 2015, Bellingham, Washington headquartered grocery chain, Haggen announced it would buy 146 Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions stores across Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Arizona as part of anti-monopoly requirements following the merger. Some of the major metropolitan areas affected were Los Angeles, Portland, Phoenix, Tucson, San Diego, Bakersfield, Seattle, and Las Vegas.
On January 30, 2015, the merger between Safeway and Albertsons was finalized