Smart & Final

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Smart & Final
  • Santa Ana Grocery Company
Company typePrivate
IndustryGrocery store
  • Hellman, Haas Grocery Co.
  • (1871–1889)
  • Haas, Baruch & Co
  • (1889–1953)
Founded1871; 153 years ago (1871)
FoundersJ.S. "Jim" Smart
H.D. "Hildane" Final
United States
Number of locations
253 (2022)
Area served
California, Arizona, Nevada and northern Mexico
Revenue Increase US$3.1 billion (2022)
OwnerChedraui USA formerly Bodega Latina Corporation
Number of employees
Smart & Final store in West Los Angeles, California

Smart & Final is a chain of warehouse-style food and supply stores based in Commerce, California, which developed through a series of mergers and expansions. The oldest of the combined companies, Hellman-Haas Grocery, was founded in 1871 in Los Angeles. The company operates over 250 stores in the Western United States and 15 in northwestern Mexico.[2]

While Smart & Final stores target both the food-service and household markets, the company also formerly operated Smart Foodservice Warehouse Stores (formerly known as Cash & Carry), which market to foodservice professionals.

The stores in Mexico are operated under a joint venture with Calimax.[3] Since 2008, in some parts of the United States, Smart & Final Extra! operates. These stores contain a slightly larger footprint and larger assortment of goods.[4]


Formed in 1912, the Santa Ana Grocery Company mainly supplied feed and grain to local farmers. In 1914, J. S. "Jim" Smart, a banker from Saginaw, Michigan, and H. D. "Hildane" Final bought the company and changed the name to Smart & Final Wholesale Grocers. From 1876 to 1913, Jim Smart had been involved with several wholesale grocers in the greater Saginaw area, including Lee, Cady & Smart and Smart & Symons with his brother-in-law, J. W. Symons of Symons Brothers. By 1919, annual sales for Smart & Final had reached $10 million. During the fierce competition among expanding grocers in the 1920s, the company introduced a self-serve concept to replace reliance on clerks to fetch goods. This was called "cash and carry."[5]

In 1953, Smart & Final merged with Haas, Baruch & Co.[5]

In 1984, it was acquired by Thriftimart.[5]

In 1991, it was reorganized via a corporate spin-off and initial public offering.[6]

In 1992, it announced a joint venture with Calimax to open stores in Mexico.[3]

In 1994, it opened its first store in Mexico.[7]

In 1998, it acquired Portland, Oregon-based United Grocers Cash & Carry, which was renamed Cash & Carry. These stores are concentrated in the Pacific Northwest.[8]

In 2007, Smart & Final acquired 35 Henry's Farmers Markets in California and Sun Harvest Markets in Texas for about $166 million.[9]

In 2007, the company was acquired by Apollo Global Management.[10][11]

In March 2010, Smart & Final announced it would expand into the Colorado market under the SmartCo Foods brand, taking over five former Albertsons locations in the Denver metro area with plans for dozens more stores in the coming years. SmartCo stores differed from typical Smart & Final locations in that they were significantly larger and included produce, meat, and bakery departments, as well as a large selection of natural and organic foods. In June 2010, the first SmartCo Foods store opened on Parker Road in Denver, and was said to be tailored for the Colorado market. In November 2010, only five months after the chain's grand opening, SmartCo Foods announced that it was exiting the Denver market and closing all five of its stores. SmartCo Foods attributed its hasty exit from Denver to poor performance chain-wide without any hope for improvement.[12] However, the withdrawal may have also been partially due to negotiations resulting in the February 2011 acquisition of the Sprouts Farmers Market which had 9 locations in Colorado.

In 2012, Apollo sold its stake in Smart & Final to Ares Management for $975 million.[13] Smart & Final went public in 2014.[14]

In 2015, Smart & Final purchased the leases on 32 locations previously operated by Haggen.[15][16][17]

In 2019, Apollo once again acquired the chain, for $1.1 billion.[13][18] Deutsche Bank had financed the previous buyout and took a loss.[19]

On October 30, 2019, Smart & Final introduced two redesigned online shopping portals for consumers and business clients. Shoppers can see weekly specials, create grocery lists, shop by recipes, and create profiles that reflect dietary allergies or preferences. Business clients can complete online orders and apply for tax exemptions.[20]

On May 24, 2021, Mexican supermarket operator Chedraui (via its California-based Bodega Latina subsidiary) announced its intent to acquire Smart & Final from Apollo.[21]


  1. ^ "Smart & Final Stores". Fortune.
  2. ^ "About Us". Smart and Final.
  3. ^ a b "Smart & Final breaks ground in Mexico". United Press International. August 13, 1993.
  4. ^ "20 Things You Didn't Know About Smart & Final". 19 February 2019.
  5. ^ a b c "Smart & Final Corporate / History; 140 Years of Superior Service, Growth and Success".
  6. ^ Mamis, Robert A. (May 1, 1992). "The Year in IPOS". Inc.
  7. ^ "SMART & FINAL OPENS FIRST MEXICO STORE". Supermarket News. January 17, 1994.
  8. ^ "Smart & Final to Buy Cash & Carry Stores". Los Angeles Times. Bloomberg News. March 7, 1998.
  9. ^ "Whole Foods sells Sun Harvest stores, plans to close 9 Wild Oats stores". American City Business Journals. October 2, 2007.
  10. ^ "Apollo Management to Buy Smart & Final". Supermarket News. February 21, 2007.
  11. ^ "Smart & Final sells to Apollo Management affiliate in $813.9M deal". American City Business Journals. February 21, 2007.
  12. ^ "SmartCo Foods to Close Five Colorado Stores" (Press release). Business Wire. November 15, 2010.
  13. ^ a b Redman, Russell (June 20, 2019). "Smart & Final becomes private company". Supermarket News.
  14. ^ Beckerman, Josh (September 23, 2014). "Smart & Final IPO prices at low end of range". MarketWatch.
  15. ^ "Smart & Final Takes Over Former Haggen Grocery Stores In San Diego". KPBS (TV). November 30, 2015.
  16. ^ "Smart & Final Stores, Inc. Announces Approval of Acquisition of 32 Haggen Locations in Central and Southern California" (Press release). PR Newswire. November 30, 2015.
  17. ^ "Smart & Final has opened all 33 stores it bought from Haggen". American City Business Journals. May 16, 2016.
  18. ^ Brumpton, Harry; Roumeliotis, Greg (April 16, 2019). "Buyout firm Apollo to buy Smart & Final Stores for $1.1 billion". Reuters. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  19. ^ Rennison, Joe (25 June 2019). "Deutsche faces big hits on US leveraged-loan losses". Financial Times.
  20. ^ Redman, Russell (October 30, 2019). "Smart & Final launches revamped shopping portals". Supermarket News.
  21. ^ "Smart & Final to Be Acquired by Bodega Latina". Progressive Grocer. 14 May 2021.

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