12 Photos of SoCal Markets and Grocers Over the Decades

Today's Angelenos enjoy a pretty wide array of food-shopping options, from an abundance of farmers' markets to major grocery store chains to little neighborhood shops patronized by loyal locals. Turns out, not a lot has changed on that score -- going all the way back to the '30s, SoCal residents shopped at Ralphs and Von's, family-run grocers like the Beachwood Market, and farm-to-table mainstays like the Grand Central Market downtown. Below, twelve images of SoCal food shopping over the past eighty years.

Ralphs was a lot more stylish-looking in 1937. This one on Hollywood and Taft was later torn down. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


Milk is displayed in an old refrigerated case at the Beachwood Market in 1942. Though the interior has changed, the store is still in the same place. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


This 1947 housewife is thrilled to buy sugar without the use of ration stamps. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


The Tong Kee market sold Chinese and American groceries in 1951. It would later be demolished to make way for a freeway onramp. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


In 1955, this Ralphs was promoting Friskies dog food with a toy car giveaway. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


This Von's was decorated with bows and balloons for the holidays while patrons in fur coats did their shopping in December 1957. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


A 1959 grocery workers' strike created traffic jams at checkout at this market on Manchester. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


These residents of 1964 Encino are horrified at the smutty magazines for sale at the local grocer. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


The Grand Central Market was as marvelous in 1968 as it is today, although back then the word "egg" never would have been followed by the word "slut." Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


The deli display at this South Gate store, shown here in 1969, is heavy on the processed meats. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


In 1977 as today, grocery stores in K-town sold imported ingredients that were hard to find elsewhere, as well as various delicacies. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


Grocery co-ops were the precursor to today's CSAs, and were the subject of some intense legal battles. This one, shown in 1981, was housed in a private garage. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


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Professional word nerd, amateur francophile, home cook, carbohydrate enthusiast and person who is obnoxious about yoga.
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