Ralphs Marketplace, Fresh Fare, and other formats

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marshd1000
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Ralphs Marketplace, Fresh Fare, and other formats

Post by marshd1000 » 15 Mar 2008 16:08

After Ralphs was acquired by Fred Meyer, I remember looking on Ralphs' pre-Kroger website and had seen some mentions of "Ralphs Marketplace" stores. Since Kroger took over, I have not seen any mention of them. From what I remember, I thought it sounded very similar to the current Kroger and Fry's "Marketplace" concepts. Are they still around and are they similar?

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Daniel
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Re: Ralphs Marketplace

Post by Daniel » 15 Mar 2008 16:57

Before they exited Fresno, Ralphs had "Marketplace" stores there. There was a section in the middle with household things (Bookcases, various garden implements and I think they might've even had lawn furniture) and seasonal wares. It reminded me of what Vons had in the 80's, where they had a section near the front of the stores with dishes, silverware and things like that.

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storewanderer
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Re: Ralphs Marketplace

Post by storewanderer » 15 Mar 2008 22:25

The major difference between Ralphs Marketplace and Kroger/Fry's/Dillons Marketplace is that Ralphs Marketplace receives non food merchandise directly from Fred Meyer for their kitchen goods, hardware, and certain garden/seasonal items. They have access to sell anything that Fred Meyer carries and my understanding is that in SoCal the mix of non food varies (or varied...) by store. If you look closely at the aisles in the non food part of the store you should find one side of an entire aisle with kitchen items. You will then find another full aisle with hardware, sporting goods, and a few other odd non food items (lots of picture frames, storage tubs). If you look real close at the hardware display you should find an item in the Fred Meyer brand. I won't say what item. The exact same item will show up elsewhere in the store in the Everyday Living brand. You may also find some storage boxes that say Fred Meyer on them near the mailing supplies. Some bagged garden dirt items with the Fred Meyer brand also used to show up at the NorCal locations.

There were five stores in northern California that were denoted as Marketplace, three of which were built by Ralphs, one being a former Monte Mart, and one being a former Albertsons. There were another couple of former Lucky Stores that were not termed as Marketplace but carried an identical mix of non food. Those two stores did not have a pharmacy and I think that is why they did not get the official "Marketplace" signage.

Ralphs Marketplace is very, very similar to a Fred Meyer Marketplace in terms of what non food is offered. These other "Marketplace" Stores that Kroger has done are a lot more structured, probably offer more non food - certainly more high ticket non food- and just are different...

The Fry's Marketplace Stores receive their non food from a non food distribution center in AZ that supplies the vast majority of Kroger's stores in the west and southwest with non food (the formal name for this distribution center is Peyton's).
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Re: Ralphs Marketplace

Post by luckysaver » 16 Mar 2008 00:23

The first Fresh Fare store opened in about 2002 in Manhattan Beach and is first concept store in the Kroger operated Ralphs era. It competes directly with Bristol Farms (then stand-alone, now part of Albertsons/Supervalu. Not sure about Ralphs located in former Lucky stores.

Examples of the 3 formats of Ralphs stores:

Glendora (655 N Grand, north of I-210) has a Ralphs Marketplace. It has sections that regular Ralphs/Fresh Fare stores don't have such as a full bulk candy department, full alternate foods department, plently of non-food merchandise, expanded grocery departments, and a drugstore style pharmacy. It used to be a Ford dealership in the 1960's and in old LA Times ads, it heavily promoted the Mustang.

Diamond Bar (Diamond Bar Blvd at Grand Ave) is a regular Ralphs without pharmacy. The building's predecessor, Safeway (1981-1986), had a pharmacy inside, according to LA Times ads.

Chino (Mountain and Riverside) is a regular Ralphs with pharmacy. It was an Alpha Beta in the 1980's. The address for this store shows up in the Times archives as an Alpha Beta (1985-86)

Riverside (Canyon Crest and Central) is a Ralphs Fresh Fare. It was also an Alpha Beta, since the giveaway is the H-sign off the street. Old articles from 1979 of the Canyon Crest Town Center referred to Alpha Beta as a major anchor.

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storewanderer
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Re: Ralphs Marketplace

Post by storewanderer » 16 Mar 2008 02:03

Most of the former Albertsons/Lucky Stores that got shifted to Ralphs have closed. A few remain in operation as Ralphs:

Former Albertsons:

700 South Coast Highway - Laguna Beach (Fresh Fare?)

Former Lucky:

201 Madonna Road - San Luis Obispo (Ralphs Marketplace)
2308 Cerrillos Road - Santa Fe, NM (Smiths)

Store under construction as Lucky and divested to Ralphs upon installation of refrigeration:

1240 Los Osos Valley Road - Los Osos
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Re: Ralphs Marketplace

Post by runchadrun » 16 Mar 2008 12:41

Actually the first Fresh Fare opened in November, 1998, at the corner of Wilshire and Bundy on the West LA-Santa Monica border. This was still the Fred Meyer era. It was a conversion of a 1961 Ralphs. I know of several other Fresh Fare locations that were operating before 2002, including the former Hughes #1 store at Coldwater and Ventura, where they thankfully saved the 70's exterior. Several of the conversions were former Hughes or larger Alpha Beta stores, like in Valenica. The most clever conversion is part of the former Bullocks Westwood, a store I find myself at a few times a week.

The first Ralphs Marketplace stores opened in Redondo Beach and Lancaster in October 1998. The Redondo Beach store is the only former Zody's/Giant now operating as a Ralphs.

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Re: Ralphs Marketplace

Post by greebs » 17 Mar 2008 09:43

"Glendora (655 N Grand, north of I-210) has a Ralphs Marketplace. It has sections that regular Ralphs/Fresh Fare stores don't have such as a full bulk candy department, full alternate foods department, plently of non-food merchandise, expanded grocery departments, and a drugstore style pharmacy. It used to be a Ford dealership in the 1960's and in old LA Times ads, it heavily promoted the Mustang."
This was actually built as a Smiths Food and Drug Store in the early 90's. Car dealership may have been torn down to build this store.
Ralphs also has a "Flagship" and "Signature" stores as well which fit somewhere between the "Market Place" and "Fresh Fare".
As for the First Fresh Fare, it was the Coldwater Canyon Location followed by the old Ralphs store on Wilshire and Bundy which had a Sav-on below the store which was then taken over by Ralphs during the remodel.

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Re: Ralphs Marketplace

Post by runchadrun » 17 Mar 2008 18:38

greebs wrote:As for the First Fresh Fare, it was the Coldwater Canyon Location followed by the old Ralphs store on Wilshire and Bundy which had a Sav-on below the store which was then taken over by Ralphs during the remodel.
Actually, the first store was the one on Wilshire. I have the newspaper article to prove it :) The Coldwater store was my regular Hughes, later Ralphs, and it was done in 2000. (I lived up the street from 1998-2001.)

The Wilshire store had a Pic n Save on the ground level around the time of the conversion. The original tenant was Santa Monica Bank, which moved to the new office tower across the street.

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Re: Ralphs Marketplace

Post by krogerclerk » 17 Mar 2008 23:21

Ralphs' was moderately upscale prior to Yucaipa consolidating the banner with Boys, Viva, ABC and Alpha Beta, which resulted in Ralphs' having a greatly expanded geographic footprint serving a more diverse demographic than it had while owned by Federated Department Stores. Hughes had been part of Fred Meyer through QFC, based out of Bellevue, WA and was positioned at about the same level as Gelson's and Pavillions, a market area Ralphs Fresh Fare exists to fill. Hughes was converted to Ralphs just prior to the Kroger/Fred Meyer merger and I believe Cala and Bell were part of Hughes/QFC up to that time as well. The typical Vons and Ralphs were upper mid-market supermarket chains, positoned a noch above Albertson's and Stater Bros(and Lucky and AlphaBeta).

Ralphs' Marketplace stores included pharmacies and a broader level of HBC, OTC, and general merchandise and were of larger square footage. Many were acquired from Smith's retreat from its Southern California expansion of the early-90's.

Ralphs The Giant was a price oriented Ralphs banner that Yucaipa converted to a traditional Ralphs in many locations and a Food 4 Less in others. The Ralphs name never was accepted as low price banner, and a format conversion or name conversion proved more successful.

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Re: Ralphs Marketplace

Post by runchadrun » 18 Mar 2008 00:17

krogerclerk wrote:Ralphs' was moderately upscale prior to Yucaipa consolidating the banner with Boys, Viva, ABC and Alpha Beta, which resulted in Ralphs' having a greatly expanded geographic footprint serving a more diverse demographic than it had while owned by Federated Department Stores. Hughes had been part of Fred Meyer through QFC, based out of Bellevue, WA and was positioned at about the same level as Gelson's and Pavillions, a market area Ralphs Fresh Fare exists to fill. Hughes was converted to Ralphs just prior to the Kroger/Fred Meyer merger and I believe Cala and Bell were part of Hughes/QFC up to that time as well. The typical Vons and Ralphs were upper mid-market supermarket chains, positoned a noch above Albertson's and Stater Bros(and Lucky and AlphaBeta).
Hughes/QFC was never a part of Fred Meyer without Ralphs. QFC bought Hughes in 1996. Fred Meyer bought both QFC and Ralphs on the same day, November 6, 1997.

For a few months Ralphs tried to keep the Hughes name on the stores while essentially making them a Ralphs inside (carrying Ralphs products, sharing ads, etc). They were going to only change the signs when they remodeled the stores. Good idea that didn't last very long or some stores would still be running stores as Hughes today. I have a rather funny (to me, as someone who lived in the area at the time and dealt with these kinds of people all the time) column from the LA Times about how up in arms people were in Studio City and Sherman Oaks about this: "Ralphs is deceiving their customers. They are trying to substitute make-believe competition for real competition. They want the community to accept one brand--their brand--by pretending there's two brands."

Cala sold out to Yucapia in mid-1988 and American Breco bought them from Yucapia in December 1988. Breco bought Bell in April 1989. Shortly thereafter Breco and Yucapia merged. So they joined the Ralphs family (such as it was) with the Yucaipa/Ralphs merger. Breco/Yucapia also operated QFI (as opposed to QFC) so maybe that's what you're thinking of.

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Re: Ralphs Marketplace, Fresh Fare, and other formats

Post by krogerclerk » 09 Sep 2008 01:06

Kroger Family Center and Kroger Sav-on seem to be the biggest formats from the past. A few Kroger Sav-on stores still operate, but are little different from a standard Kroger now. I think Detroit and Indianapolis had a couple of Kroger Futurestores as a counterpoint to A&P Futurestore. Many banners have been acquired over the years and the most recent to rebanner to Kroger is Kessell's in Michigan. Savannah-based M&M(Malaver&Malaver) Supermarkets were bought in the late 80's and rebannered Kroger in 91 or 92. Malaver still operates as a retail shopping center developer independent of Kroger.

In Ralphs, Ralphs The Giant is one of the biggest former formats, most became Food 4 Less after the Yucaipa merger. Circle Supers is a former King Soopers sub format. I think only one Price Rite operates in New Mexico, the others converted to Smith's or Food 4 Less. Market Basket is an old Kroger banner which many locations went to Ralphs and Smith's Food King, both chains would someday join the Kroger family. In Florida there was Florida Choice and SupeRx Food and Drug, two non-union entrants to the Florida market. Barneys Warehouse was a Cleveland warehouse format while BiLo and LoBi were limited assortment stores in other areas of Northeast Ohio, similar to Jewel T, PLUS, Sav-a-Lot and Aldi.

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Re: Ralphs Marketplace, Fresh Fare, and other formats

Post by luckysaver » 06 Dec 2008 02:06

Ralphs operates Food4Less in Southern California and Southern Nevada. They have two formats, as seen in the regional weekly print ads:

Food4Less - regular warehouse store. Example is the former Zody's on Azusa Ave and Puente St in West Covina. (The adjacent Big Lots first opened as a Ralphs in the 1960's).
Food4Less Carniceria - warehouse store with service meat/seafood, caters to the hispanic population where these stores are located. Example is the Pomona store on Garey and Philadelphia. Carniceria means meat market (or butcher shop) in Spanish.

Either format may also have a Ralphs pharmacy (operating as Food4Less Pharmacy), bakery/service deli, and a gas station.

When Ralphs took over operations of Food4Less during the Yucaipa ownership, it included conventional Food4Less stores (some became Ralphs or the green-shaded Alpha Beta, many others closed) and the old Giant Warehouse stores became Food4Less.

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