Smart & Final Stores, Inc
Smart & Final Stores, Inc

Smart & Final Stores, Inc

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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.

While Smart & Final stores target both the food-service and household markets, the company also operates Smart Foodservice Warehouse Stores, which market to foodservice professionals.

The stores in Mexico are operated under a joint venture with Calimax.

Founded in 1871, by Herman W. Hellman, Jacob Haas and Bernard Cohn, as Hellman, Haas & Co. Purchased by Abraham Haas and Herman Baruch, who was married to Haas's niece, Jeanette Meertief, and his brother, Jacob Baruch, and renamed Haas, Baruch & Co in 1889. By 1895, following introduction of one of the first private label store brands, Iris, the grocer's sales reached $2 million. The business continued to expand with the growing population in Southern California.

Founded 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."
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