Herman Hellman, Jacob Haas and Bernard Cohn open Hellman-Haas Grocery Co., a Los Angeles-based grocery company selling daily necessities including flour, brown sugar, salt, patent medicines, rope, sheepherding supplies, chewing tobacco and gunpowder.
Hellman-Hass Grocery Co. changes ownership as Abraham Haas (brother to Jacob Haas) and Jacob Baruch buy out Herman Hellman, Jacob Haas and Bernard Cohn, and the name becomes Haas, Baruch & Co.
Haas, Baruch & Co. records annual sales of $2 million and begins to establish itself as Los Angeles’ preeminent wholesale grocer, also introducing its high-quality private label brand knowns as Iris.
J.S. "Jim" Smart, a banker from Saginaw, Michigan, arrives in California and purchases a small feed and grain supplier, the Santa Ana Wholesale Grocery Company, which had been founded in 1912. Joined by partner H.D. "Hildane" Final, the company changes its name to Smart & Final Wholesale Grocers and relocates to San Pedro, California.
Smart & Final opens a store location in Long Beach, California and became the first in the area to offer the “cash and carry” concept, which allowed customers to choose their purchases, rather than having the grocery clerks gather the items for them.
Smart & Final Wholesale Grocers merges with Haas, Baruch & Co., under the name Smart & Final and relocates to Vernon, California, the preferred distribution location for a number of wholesale and retail companies at the time.
Smart & Final is bought by the Thriftimart supermarket chain, under which the Iris brand name expands to include hundreds of frozen food products, paper and canned goods, and janitorial supplies.
Thriftimart, Inc. changes its name to Smart & Final Iris Corporation and in 1988 is acquired by Casino USA, the American subsidiary of Casino Groupe. Shortly thereafter the Thriftimart stores are liquidated in order to shift the company's resources to modernizing the chain, expanding store sizes and customer convenience, and offering a product assortment adapted to market needs.
1980s – 1990s
Smart & Final expands into Arizona and Nevada, and continues to increase its presence in California, growing to 140 stores in 20 counties by 1995.
The company makes its first venture outside of the United States, opening stores in Mexico through a joint partnership.
Smart & Final acquires some of the assets of United Grocers, Inc., an Oregon-based company, which includes their cash and carry store chain (now called Smart Foodservice Warehouse Stores).
The Smart & Final Disaster Relief Fund (now known as the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation) is established to give back, improve the quality of life and nourish the communities Smart & Final serves throughout California, Nevada and Arizona.
Smart & Final is acquired by funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Management, L.P. and subsequently enters a new niche of food retailing through the purchase of 27 Southern California Henry’s Farmers Market Fresh stores and eight Texas Sun Harvest stores.
Smart & Final debuts its Extra! format, with larger store footprints and an expanded merchandise selection, opening eight Smart & Final Extra! stores by year-end. Ten years of significant growth follow, facilitated by the acquisition of a dedicated perishables warehouse and further supported by continued investments in distribution capabilities and in-store merchandising.
The Smart & Final Disaster Relief Fund is renamed and expanded to the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation in order to support efforts around Health & Wellness, Education, Hunger Relief, and Team Sports & Youth Development, in addition to Disaster Relief.
Smart & Final sells the Henry’s and Sun Harvest stores to Sprouts Farmers Market.
Smart & Final is acquired by Ares Management, LLC.
Smart & Final Extra! conversions and new store openings accelerate, with a total of eight conversions and five new Extra! stores.
Smart & Final completes an initial public offering and begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “SFS.” Meanwhile, Smart & Final celebrates the opening of its 200th banner store in Long Beach, where the very first banner store also opened.
Smart & Final celebrates the opening of its 100th Extra! format store, located in Spring Valley, California.
Smart & Final Extra! store expansion continues with the acquisition of 33 former Haggen store leases in California, which reopen as Smart & Final Extra! stores.
Smart & Final opens 14 new Extra! format stores.
Smart & Final celebrates the opening of its 200th Extra! format store, located in Long Beach, where the original banner store was opened.
Smart & Final Stores Inc. is privatized through an acquisition by funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, LLC, a leading global alternative investment manager.
Smart Foodservice Warehouse Stores is sold to US Foods.
Smart & Final continues its growth plans, rolling out pick-up and delivery options and opening new stores to provide customers quality, value and convenience.