After losing his arm in a hunting accident, young bricklayer George Ralphs switched his profession to the grocery business to support himself, joining with S. A. Francis in 1873 to open the Ralphs & Francis grocery store in downtown Los Angeles. As Los Angeles Magazine tells the story, Ralphs’ brother, Walter, bought out Francis, and the company name shifted to Ralphs Bros. Grocers a few years later.
It quickly became popular among both shoppers and farmers who sold their goods at the store — so popular that Ralphs expanded to a bigger building. In 1911, the brothers opened their second store, and Ralphs bloomed.
The Ralphs family owned the stores until 1968, when Federated Department Stores bought the chain. It was sold again a few times, and its stores across Southern California now are part of the Kroger Co., a grocery giant.
While Ralphs started as a grocery store, by 1907, it had added items such as kitchen utensils, ice boxes and alarm clocks to the inventory, Supermarket News reported. And that diversity in merchandise continues today, with Ralphs stocking a variety of items to appeal to shoppers.
Read on to learn about some of the surprising items available at Ralphs stores. Selection may vary by location.
Ralphs expanded its offerings to add an in-store floral department in the 1970s, and that continues to blossom today. Floral bouquets, potted plants and fresh-cut roses are among the items available at Ralphs — all as beautiful as the 7-ounce potted Phalaenopsis orchid plant for $13.
Krispy Kreme Donuts
The Southern California region doesn’t have many Krispy Kreme outlets — fewer than two dozen over the wide swath. But, if you’ve got a taste for that gooey, glazed goodness, Ralphs has you covered. Take home a three-pack for $5.49.
Dogsters Frozen Treats
Why not grab a hot-weather treat for your pup on your next trip to Ralphs? Head to the frozen food aisle for a box of Dogsters ice cream-style treats for dogs. The box contains four 3.5-ounce cups for $3.99.
Ralphs has a stellar selection of seasonal offerings, starting with the inflatable Lagoon Family Pool. At more than 8 feet long and 5 feet wide, it gives a grown-up plenty of room to join the kids in the cool water. The pool is 18 inches deep, perfect for all ages to sit and splash. The price printed on the box is $39.99, but it recently was on sale for half off.
Today, Ralphs has an extensive pharmacy, and that includes durable medical equipment. You can choose from canes, a transport chair and different types of walkers. Ralphs sells the standard, folding two-wheel walker for $39.99 and the Vogue rolling walker with four wheels for $108.99.
Cold Smoked Norwegian Atlantic Salmon
Atlantic salmon is a fish out of water in Southern California. Whether farmed or caught in the ocean, it isn’t native to the area where Ralphs is located. But Ralphs does stock the Private Selection Traditional Atlantic Salmon, and it recently was priced at $19.99 per pound.[x]
Take your steak, burgers, chicken or fish purchased in the meat department outside to cook. If you don’t have a grill, you can pick one up at Ralphs. The store sells the American Charcoal Grill, priced at $74.99 but recently $10 off with your store loyalty card.
Martha Stewart Pies
Who knew home maven extraordinaire Martha Stewart had her own food line? The proof is at Ralphs, which sells the Martha Stewart Kitchen Peach & Apple Hand Pies. A two-pack costs about $6.
More From GOBankingRates