Jim Smart Biography & Facts
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 (formerly known as Cash & Carry), which market to foodservice professionals.
The stores in Mexico are operated under a joint venture with Calimax.
Founded in 1871, by Herman W. Hellman (brother of Isaias W. Hellman), Jacob Haas and Bernard Cohn, as Hellman, Haas & Co. Purchased by Abraham Haas (the original owner of the Haas Building in Downtown Los Angeles) and 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."In 1953, Smart & Final merged with Haas, Baruch & Co.In 1984, it was acquired by Thriftimart.In 1991, it was reorganized via a corporate spin-off and initial public offering.In 1992, it announced a joint venture with Calimax to open stores in Mexico.In 1994, it opened its first store in Mexico.In 1998, it acquired Portland, Oregon-based United Grocers Cash & Carry, which was renamed Cash & Carry. These stores are concentrated in the Pacific Northwest.In 2007, Smart & Final acquired 35 Henry's Farmers Markets in California and Sun Harvest Markets in Texas for about $166 million.In 2007, the company was acquired by Apollo Global Management.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. 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. Smart & Final went public in 2014.In 2015, Smart & Final purchased the leases on 32 locations previously operated by Haggen.In 2019, Apollo once again acquired the chain, for $1.1 billion. Deutsche Bank had financed the previous buyout and took a loss.On October 30, 2019, Smart & Final introduced two redesigned 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.On May 24, 2021, Mexican supermarket operator Chedraui(via its California-based Bodega Latina subsidiary)announced it intent to acquire Smart and Final from Apollo.
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