Grupo Sanborns

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Grupo Sanborns S.A. de C.V.
Founded1903; 116 years ago (1903)
HeadquartersMexico City, Mexico
Key people
Carlos Slim Domit (CEO)
ProductsCafeteria, Restaurant, Retail, Pharmacy, Department Store
OwnerGrupo Carso
Number of employees
ParentGrupo Carso
Grupo Sanborns
Saks Fifth Avenue
Sanborns Café
Sears Roebuck México

Grupo Sanborns is a large restaurant, retail, pharmacy and department store chain located in Mexico, El Salvador and Panama.


Modern multistory Sanborns department store in Mexico City with the facade of a 19th-century home being used as an entrance aerea

The retail company was founded in Mexico City on June 19, 1903, by California immigrants Walter and Frank Sanborn, who also opened Mexico's first soda fountain. The original location and its lunch counter, across from the main Mexico City post office (Palacio de Correos) is still in operation.

During the Mexican Revolution, troops of Emiliano Zapata used a Sanborns branch located where the Libreria Madero is today, as a rendezvous point and gathering place. Extant photos show Zapatista soldiers enjoying their first restaurant meal at Sanborns' lunch counter.[1] Thus the Sanborns slogan Meet me at Sanborns.

In 1919, Walter Sanborn, tired of Mexico's political turmoil, returned to the US and left the management of the company to his brother Frank.

The trademark of the franchise, the three owls, represent Mr. Frank Sanborn and his sons, Francis and Jonathan. For some time, the official name of the company was "Sanborn´s Hermanos" (Sanborn´s Brothers), when Mr. Frank died.

The Casa de los Azulejos atrium and restaurant inside Sanborns

Also in 1919, Sanborns acquired its most famous branch location, the 16th century House of Tiles, the Casa de los Azulejos, a major Mexico City tourist attraction and national monument. This is probably the world's only pharmacy decorated with a mural by José Clemente Orozco.[1]

In 1946, Frank Sanborn sold his interest in Sanborns to fellow pharmacist Charles Walgreen Jr. of Chicago.

Like Walgreens, Sanborns does not use an apostrophe in its name. In Sanborns' case, it is due to the Spanish language not using apostrophes to indicate possession.

Walgreens sold its interest in 1985. Currently, Sanborns is a unit of conglomerate Grupo Carso which itself is controlled by Carlos Slim, the fourth wealthiest billionaire in the world as of 2016.[2] Sanborns controls Sears Mexico (nearly 50 stores). It also owns about 125 Sanborns stores (a combination of restaurants, drugstores and book and gift shops); 34 Sanborns Cafés; nearly 65 Discolandia, Mixup, No Problem and Tower Records music stores, 65 iShop (Apple Re-seller) stores. Sanborns also operates its eponymous Web site selling electronics, computers, music, books, toys, drugs and more.


  1. ^ PlanetWare - House of Tiles
  2. ^ Carlos Slim Helu & family, net worth estimated at $50 billion in 2016 by [i]Forbes[/i] magazine

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