By Adam Bookbinder
Many stores in Southern California have come and gone over the years. Either to be bought up by a larger company or shutdown because of larger companies.
We take a look back at eight stores which were known throughout Southern California but are no longer around:
Founded in 1949 by Marvin G. Morris, Mervyn’s was known for selling clothing, beauty products, housewares, bedding, furniture, shoes, and jewelry. In 1975, the chain open its first two Southern California stores located in Fullerton and Huntington Beach. From 1995 to 2001, the stores were known as Mervyn’s California, but since the rebranding had little affect on revenue, the name went back to Mervyn’s. After filing bankruptcy in July of 2008, the company decided to completely close and liquidate in October of the same year.
The chain of supermarkets was founded in 1935 in Northern California by Charles Crouch. In 1998 it was sold by then owner American Stores to Albertsons, causing the Lucky name to disappear from Southern California. In 2007, Save Mart Supermarkets brought the Lucky brand back to Northern California.
The name Thrifty came about in Los Angeles in 1929 when brothers Harry and Robert Braun and brother-in-law Norman Levin opened a drug retail store with the name Thrifty Cut Rate in Downtown LA. The first store outside of Downtown LA was located at the corner of Wilshire and Western and opened in 1931. The company went through a few acquisitions and mergers through the years, eventually in 1994 becoming Thrifty PayLess Holdings. In 1996, 1,000 of their stores were purchased by drug store chain Rite Aid. The Thrifty names lives on inside Southern California Rite Aid locations in the form of Thrifty Ice Cream.
May Company –
Headquartered in North Hollywood, Southern California’s May Company was established in 1923. Two of its popular store locations were the Downtown LA flasgship store at Broadway and Hill and the May Company Wilshire located on the northeast corner of Wilshire and Fairfax. In 1993, May Company combined with J.W. Robinson’s to form Robinsons-May. On February 25, 2005 it was announced May Department Stories/May Company was being acquired by Federated Department Stories, owner of Macy’s. Later that year it was announced all former May Company stories were being re-branded as Macy’s.
Sav-on Drugs –
The Anaheim based Sav-on drugstore chain was purchased by The Jewel Companies in 1980. Then in 1999, Jewel was purchased by American Stores in 1984, who wanted to create a national brand of pharmacies under the name Osco Drug, causing the Sav-on name to disappear. After the large negative response from customers in Southern California from the name change, it was decided to return the Sav-on Drugs name back to SoCal. In 1999, American Stores was acquired by Albertsons. Sav-on Drugs were found as stand alone stories all throughout Southern California. But in 2007, Albertsons sold off the Sav-on Drugs chain to CVS, who re-branded all the stores CVS/pharmacy. The Sav-on name can still be found inside some local Albertsons stores.
Ken Crane’s Home Entertainment –
Founded in the md-60’s by Ken Crane, this family owned business was known for selling TVs and positioned itself as specializing in home theater systems and installation. Over the years the local chain, which peaked at 10 stores, saw an increase in competition from national retailers such as Best Buy, Fry’s and Target and unfortunately after Crane’s death in 2004, his children who took of the business, were forced to close the company in 2010 citing a tanking economy and credit crunch.
Tam’s Stationers –
Based in Santa Ana, Tam’s was a local office supply chain of stores. Their first store opened in 1947 by USC and eventually had 23 stores throughout Southern California. Eventually stores such as Staples, Office Depot and Kinko’s opening, which eventually forced the company to go out of business. In an LA Times article, the company’s bankruptcy lawyer said, “There is no future for stores like Tam’s. The big guys drove the mom-and-pops out.” In 1996 they were forced to liquidate its assets.
Robinson’s Department Store –
Founded in 1881 and headquartered in Los Angeles, Robinson’s Department Store originated in Downtown LA on West Seventh Street with a second location opening on Wilshire and Santa Monica in Beverly Hills in 1952. The company peaked with about 30 stores throughout Southern California and in 1983 was acquired by May Department Stores, forming Robinsons-May.