In the Beginning
Downtown Los Angeles was a much smaller town when Charles Von der Ahe opened his 20-foot wide Groceteria on 7th and Figueroa in 1906 with $1,200 in savings. It was a neighborhood store that catered to the needs of local families. Von der Ahe pioneered "cash and carry" as an alternative to "charge and delivery." His formula proved so successful that by 1928, Vons had expanded to 87 stores.
Charles Von der Ahe sold his chain the following year. Four years later, despite the Depression, his sons Ted and Will re-started Vons. Its growth and innovation over the next 70 years was non-stop. In 1948, the brothers opened their most ambitious store at the corner of Santa Barbara and Crenshaw. Thanks to the introduction of pre-packaged perishables, they were able to offer some of the first self-service produce, meat and deli departments. This milestone marked the advent of the first true supermarkets as we know them today. The most explosive growth occurred during the 1970's when Vons branched out to 159 stores with 16,000 employees, making it firmly the #1 grocery retailer in Southern California.
Today, Vons operates as a banner of Albertsons Companies, one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States. With both a strong local presence and national scale, the company operates stores across 35 states and the District of Columbia under 20 well-known banners. Albertsons Companies is committed to helping people across the country live better lives by making a meaningful difference, neighborhood by neighborhood. In 2017 alone, along with the Albertsons Companies Foundation, the company gave nearly $300 million in food and financial support. These efforts helped millions of people in the areas of hunger relief, education, cancer research and treatment, programs for people with disabilities and veterans outreach.