|Former type||Subsidiary of American Stores|
|Fate||Merged with Ralphs|
Alpha Beta was a chain of supermarkets in the United States. Stores under this brand existed between 1917 and 1995. Former Alpha Beta stores have all been purchased by other grocery chains and rebranded.
Before Alpha Beta was the name of a store, it was the name of a marketing concept used in grocery stores founded by Albert and Hugh Gerrard; it referred to organizing the groceries in the store in alphabetical order. The Gerrards applied this idea to their flagship grocery store, Triangle Grocerteria, in 1915. Then in 1917, they opened the first Alpha Beta store in Pomona, California. The company was bought by American Stores in 1961. Skaggs Drug Centers bought American Stores in 1979 and assumed the American Stores name. Combined food and drug stores in Alpha Beta territory were re-branded as Skaggs Alpha Beta. In 1984, American Stores bought The Jewel Companies, Inc., which had owned Osco Drug since 1961. In 1984, all 34 Alpha Beta stores in Arizona were sold to ABCO Foods, and the stores continued operating under the Alpha Beta name. In Tucson, Alpha Beta-branded stores changed to ABCO-branded stores around 1989.
Some Alpha Beta stores carried more than the customary supermarket merchandise. For example, in 1980, a Cupertino, California, Alpha Beta store sold Bohsei color TVs for under $200, Atari 400 and 800 computers, and other goods.
In September 1991, Skaggs-Alpha Beta re-branded its 76 stores in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arkansas as Jewel-Osco, in an attempt to unify some of its subsidiaries under one nationally recognized name. Months later, Albertsons bought some of the Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas stores.
Most remaining Alpha Beta stores in the United States were taken over by Lucky stores, which in turn became Albertsons, then Lucky again. Most stores in southern California were renamed to Ralphs after Yucaipa, owner of Alpha Beta, bought the Ralphs grocery chain.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Alan Hamel was the television spokesman for the Alpha Beta grocery stores in California. Although the chain used various slogans such as "You Can't Lose" and "The Savings Don't Stop", every commercial featuring Hamel ended with him saying to the audience "tell a friend".
In 1994, Yucaipa Companies, then owner of the Alpha Beta chain in southern California, purchased Ralphs Grocery Company and renamed itself after Ralphs. All existing Alpha Beta stores in the state were rebranded as Ralphs or Food 4 Less, and the Alpha Beta name ceased to exist by September 1995.
- American Stores, The New York Times, September 5, 1984.
- COMPANY NEWS; California Grocery Deal: Yucaipa to Buy Ralphs - New York Times