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5 Things You Don’t Know About Ralphs Grocery Store

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Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

If you live in Southern California or visit it often, there is no doubt you’ve been inside of a Ralphs supermarket. Ralphs markets have been around for more than 100 years, and because they’ve been around since 1873, they’ve seen a lot of transformation.

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Here are some facts about Ralphs that you might not have known.

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1. Ralphs Is the Largest Subsidiary of Kroger

Even if you haven’t heard of Ralphs, there is a good chance you’ve heard of Kroger. Kroger is a retail company that operates multiple stores nationwide including Baker’s, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers and Smith’s. Ralphs has 189 locations, with all of them being in California except for one that is in Kentucky.

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2. Ralphs Was an Architectural Pioneer

Initially, notable architects were brought on to design the supermarket. One Ralphs, built in 1929 by Russell Collins in the Westwood Village neighborhood of Los Angeles, was particularly striking. It had elements of Spanish and Roman architecture and served as a model for many buildings that would come to exist in the area. It was so beautiful that Ansel Adams photographed it and it was declared a Historic Cultural Monument, as well as being on the National Register of Historic Places. The Los Angeles Times called the store “one of the most beautiful exclusive grocery marts in the West.

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3. Ralphs Introduced Pivotal Technology

Ralphs supermarkets are responsible for some of the luxuries we still enjoy while grocery shopping. One of these luxuries? Checkout stations. Prior to those, store associates would take customers’ grocery lists to locate and bag the groceries themselves. The other innovation Ralphs supermarkets introduced was laser scanning. Employees no longer had to label each and every item with a price, going through and updating it from time to time. Thanks to Ralphs, the grocery shopping experience became easier for both store employees and shoppers.

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4. One Ralphs Recently Opened a Restaurant Kitchen

In January of 2022, a Ralphs in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles opened a “ghost kitchen” or a collection of eateries that customers can order from online. Customers can order items from any of the 10 restaurants, allowing them to mix and match all in one purchase. The kitchen features local restaurants with cuisine including sushi, fried chicken, plant-based meals, and Mediterranean meals to name a few.

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5. Ralphs Played a Role in “Repo Man”

If you’re a fan of the 1984 film, here’s a little Ralphs Easter egg for you. Almost all of the items from the fictional store Pik’n’Pay in “Repo Man” were donated by Ralphs. In fact, the generic beer shown in the film was inspired by a beer Ralphs actually sold. Ralphs was one of the few sponsors that the filmmakers could convince to support the production.

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