I just learned that Albertson’s is buying Thrifty ice cream. Growing up in Sacramento we used to get Thrifty ice cream all the time. You walked into the Thrifty Drug Store and immediately on your left there was an ice cream counter (and a water fountain). If you wanted to go into the drug store, you actually had to go through a turn-stile. I can remember getting my allowance of ten cents every Friday (yes I got an allowance for doing chores – which will probably be another blog post someday about the parents that are ruining our country by not having their children to chores, but we’ll save that for another day… where was I… oh, yes) my brother and I would get our allowance and walk to Thrifty with dad and/or mom and blow a whole week’s allowance on a “double-dip” (a single was five cents and you guessed it, a triple was fifteen). The serving implement was this special scoop that you only saw at Thrifty and it made each scoop into an almost perfect cylinder.
At some point, that drug store closed and I did not run into a Thrifty, anywhere for many years afterwards. About 5 or 6 years ago, I was driving down Durango and this gas station advertised that they had Thrifty ice cream. Was it THE Thrifty? And if so, how? I stopped and went inside and it WAS the real Thrifty ice cream; with the real scoop. Since that magical day, I have run into probably 6 or 7 other places that serve it, and I have shared this wonderful treat with people I care about. I remember going into a place that advertised Thrifty ice cream and when I ordered my treat, the man pulled out a regular ice cream scoop – I stopped him and asked him where the cylinder scoop was and he said it was too expensive… saddened, I told him I did not want the ice cream. I know that’s silly, but this was the ice cream of my childhood and every other place in Las Vegas that I had found it used the nostalgic scoop. There’s just something warm and fuzzy for me about cylindered scoops of Thrifty ice cream for me. I think we all have things like that… at least I hope we all do!
According to Burt Flickinger, managing director of Strategic Resource Group – a retail consulting firm, “Thrifty ice cream is the greatest power brand that any drugstore has created anywhere across America,” No matter what’s happened to the retailer over the years, the brand has always been a key foundation for the ongoing viability of Rite Aid because of the tremendous loyalty to Thrifty.”
This past February Albertsons Cos. owner of grocery chains including Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions and Safeway announced that it would be acquiring Rite Aid and part of the purchase will include the Thrifty barman as well as the El Monte factory where the ice cream is made.
A Rite Aid executive said this week that Albertsons plans to keep the Thrifty brand alive and will sell the ice cream in its grocery stores. Thrifty ranks among Los Angeles’ longest-standing junk-food icons. The name has been displayed proudly on storefronts since 1929, when brothers Harry and Robert Borun and their brother-in-law, Norman Levin, opened the first Thrifty drugstore at 4th Street and South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. Over the years Thrifty grew into the largest drugstore chain on the West Coast.
Albertsons already sells ice cream under its own private-label brands, including Signature Select and Lucerne. But there seems to be room for one more store brand — if that brand is Thrifty. “Albertsons is buying Rite Aid to increase customer frequency,” said Lloyd Greif, a Los Angeles investment banker. “People come in for a prescription and it gives them the opportunity to sell other products. Thrifty is another reason to come into the store.”
I can’t wait to see the Thrifty brand being sold at all the Albertsons stores and I want the people from other areas of the country that never heard of Thrifty to try their ice cream – and find their own experience with this glorious product – WARNING you might get hooked.
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Choose to have an amazing day…..Jeff