Saturday, September 04, 2010

Standing In The Alpha Beta Parking Lot...

I was listening to Cake this morning, which got me thinking, how many people actually even know what "standing in the Alpha Beta parking lot" is all about? Now, I don't mean the Cake song, I mean what is an Alpha Beta anyway?


Alpha Beta was a chain of California supermarkets started by Albert and Hugh Gerrard. Alpha Beta began as a system of organizing the groceries in the store in alphabetical order.
Ok, I don't remember the condoms being in the same aisle as the carrots and cookies, but hey, if it worked for them....

Alpha Beta was the place to get ice cream, bananas, and kittens from the Honduran family who would always sell them outside of the market in a cardboard box.


My absolutely favorite memory of Alpha Beta was driving by this sign at night. During the daytime, that sign was as drab and rundown as the rest of my so cal town, but at night, it was glowy, psychedelic and animated. I thought it was just about the coolest thing we had going on!
The Alpha Beta was also right across the street from my elementary school, so I suppose further imbedded it into my brain. (the one I went to 4th and 5th grade in anyway, I went to 7 schools between K-12, but thats another story)
Did you know there is even a Facebook page for former Alpha Beta employees? WOW!
Alpha Beta Grocery Store (Facebook)

This Alpha Beta was in La Habra, CA

This one was in Costa Mesa. It's easy to tell where the stores were located in the pics, because they put the town name on the front of each store. This one says Harbor, but So Cal locals know what they really meant, Costa Mesa.
So of course Alpha Beta was bought out by Lucky/Albertson/Lucky but that doesnt mean anything to you since you shop at the AM/PM or Piggly Wigglys, right?
By the way, before I go, the silliest name for a grocery store is not Piggly Wiggly! It is a store in BC Canada called Overwaitea! Now, I couldn't help notice the massive sizes of cookies, cakes, pies, sodas, breads etc, sorta like Costco....hence the name OVERWAITEA?
That's not the real reason, here is the real reason.
Have a Lovely Day!

6 comments:

Carmi said...

Thank you for this delightful peek into the way groceries used to be sold. I'm convinced that the supermarkets of my adulthood are nowhere near as special as those of my childhood. They were smaller then, more personal, more memorable. You got to know the employees by name.

Today? Feh.

egan said...

It's funny how these grocery stores can form such lasting memories in our minds. It's crazy, but seems so true. I love how the sight of the sign at night made you all warm and fuzzy inside. I like that.

G-Man said...

I was in California in 1976...
I remember the Alpha-Beta!!

lime said...

and now we know! that was kinda cool.

we had acme grocery stores where i grew up. i was convinced they must have a secret room somewhere that held all the items wile e coyote ordered.

millz said...

omg thats funny...i totally remember that alpha beta in la habra, my elementry school and middle school where right down that street from there! the old alpha beta building is now a calvery chapel, crazy!

Anonymous said...

i started working at the Alpha Beta in Ontario,Calif on Euclid ave back in 79 worked there for 8 years...sure would like to know where some of my co workers are...we were like family..went skating , had home games...miss them..