What States Have Ralphs? (Is There One In Your State?)

Ralphs, a 20th-century supermarket pioneer that offers self-service markets with checkout stands in various locations, has expanded throughout time. Customers are hunting for this grocer after seeing it in films such as The Big Lebowski, Messiah of Evil, Die Hard, and the animated movie The Powerpuff Girls, where Ralphs was dubbed “Malphs.”

Ralphs has been around since 1873, and as of December 2021, there are 189 locations. You might wonder what states have Ralphs. Let’s find out where the 189 stores are in this article.

What States Have Ralphs in 2023?

After contacting Ralphs customer service, we discovered that Ralphs grocery stores are located in 11 states, with California having the most number of locations. These states are:

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • Missouri

What Is The History Behind Ralphs Grocery Corporation?

4b406a9060841933fcfc237ea15a858a 1

Ralphs Grocery is the largest food retailer in Southern California, and it has the potential to become one of the major grocers in the western United States. Ralphs runs approximately 189 stores across California, with tens of thousands of products available to customers, many of which are sold under the Ralphs private label.

Ralphs was a family-owned business until 1968. It went through two complex mergers to achieve its high-profile prominence in the food retailing industry, finally becoming a division of the Kroger Company. Ralphs grew to be such a dominant presence in Southern California that it was barred from expanding farther in the greater Los Angeles area until 2003.

Though most Ralphs stores are called Ralphs, the firm also has many locations in Northern California called Cala Foods and Bell Markets and big warehouse stores in Nevada called Food 4 Less, Foods Co, and PriceRite.

Ralphs Fresh Fare began transitioning several of the company’s stores into markets offering high-quality gourmet food products in 2000.

A Family-Owned Grocery Store’s Evolution

After being injured in a hunting accident in 1873, a young bricklayer named George A. Ralphs found work in a grocery store in Los Angeles. He had saved enough money to buy his own modest store within a year, and his brother Walter Ralphs soon joined him in the business.

Ralphs Bros Grocers, a community grocer in downtown Los Angeles that offered regional produce and grains at reasonable costs and prided itself on customer care, was run by the brothers. Ralphs inventory and size grew in tandem with the area’s population growth during the next few decades.

Ralphs Grocery Company was formed in 1909, and two years later, it opened a much larger branch store.

By 1928, the Ralphs grocery chain had grown to 10 locations. Home delivery service by horse-drawn wagons eventually gave place to self-service and parking lots as the Ralphs brothers focused on updating these facilities.

Ralphs stores began offering bakeries and creameries in their 25 locations in the 1930s, while delicatessens and other in-store amenities arrived in the 1940s.

After the company’s founder, George Ralphs, died, a new generation of Ralphs took over, and by the middle of the century, the family had established Ralphs as one of the state’s leading grocers. Ralphs marketed itself as a high-quality food merchant while still keeping costs low, which helped the company grow to over 100 sites by the 1950s.

By the 1960s, Ralphs had grown to the point that a national retail behemoth believed the company was ready, with the appropriate financing, to expand beyond the boundaries of a family-owned business. After consistently increasing throughout the decade, Ralphs was approached in 1968 by Federated Department Stores of Cincinnati, one of the country’s leading food chain store owners.

Federated bid to purchase the company from Ralphs family, who had run it since its creation. Ralphs was ready to sell what had grown into much more than a mom-and-pop enterprise when Federated went into negotiations with them.

Ralphs was sold to Federated for slightly over $60 million at the end of the year.

Fast forward to the 1990s, Federated, now known as Macy’s, Inc., sold Ralphs to a group of investors led by Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation. The Yucaipa Companies purchased Ralphs for $1.5 billion in 1994. ABC Markets, Alpha Beta, Boys Markets, and Cala Foods are all owned by Yucaipa.

Ralphs quickly replaced all ABC Markets, Alpha Betas, and Boys Markets. At the same time, Food 4 Less and Ralphs amalgamated. Yucaipa sold Ralphs in 1997 to Fred Meyer of Portland, Oregon, who owns several western franchises.

Untitled design 2022 03 27T015909.750

Soon after, Ralphs Marketplace locations began to open in suburban regions; these stores are similar to Fred Meyer but do not sell clothing. At the same time, they bought the Hughes Family Markets business, which has 57 locations. Fred Meyer, the parent firm, merged with Kroger of Cincinnati, Ohio, in October 1998.

Ralphs bought roughly 30 Albertsons and Lucky stores in Northern California and stores on the Central Coast and one each in Bakersfield and Laguna Beach in 1999. The Albertsons and American Stores merger resulted in the divestiture of the stores.

Ralphs left the Bakersfield region in 2005, closing three locations.

Are Ralphs and Smiths The Same?

Smith’s, Ralphs, Food 4 Less, and Hughes Family Markets are all owned by Fred Meyer. Albertson’s Inc. has announced plans to purchase American Stores Co., which owns the Lucky supermarket and Sav-on pharmacy chains, and Fred Meyer’s purchase of Ralphs and Safeway Inc.’s acquisition of Vons Cos.

Why Is Ralphs More Prevalent In South California?

Ralphs was founded in 1873 in Los Angeles, California, and company headquarters are in Compton, California. They tried multiple times to develop a foothold in Northern California after merging with larger businesses, but it just didn’t work out.


Ralphs — the 189-store business now has 31 full-service shops and plans to open a few more in the next two years. Who knows? The next store may open in your state, right where you are.

Leave a Comment