History & Milestones

Headquartered in Berkeley, California, Grocery Outlet Inc. is a privately held company and employs approximately 450 employees and has 200+ independently owned stores in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington states.

Grocery Outlet, early on.

Jim Read founded the company in 1946 that is now Grocery Outlet Inc. From our modest beginnings in 1946, our philosophy has never wavered. We have always been in the business of providing our customers a fun place to find bargains on brands you trust! And we offer our suppliers a professional, trustworthy partner to discretely move product without disrupting conventional retail channels of distribution. Since its beginnings, Grocery Outlet Inc. has continued an impressive growth rate, as evidenced by the following milestones:

Our History
1946 Jim Read purchases excess government surplus food products and puts them into vacant stores, starting "Cannery Sales" in San Francisco.
1948 Read and Nate Narin, his partner, convert stores to "US Markets".
1958 Read sells out interest in "US Markets" to Narin.
1959 Read acquires interest in "Big Bonus Foods," a 10 store Bay Area chain, selling regular and surplus merchandise, as well as perishables.
1970 Globe of California acquired. Name of both companies changed to Canned Foods. Business concept converted to factory seconds, closeouts and discontinued product.
1971 First supplier agreement, with Del Monte, signed.
1973 Canned Foods opens first independent store in Redmond, Oregon.
1982 Jim Read passes away suddenly; his sons, Peter and Steven, assume management control. Frozen Food category added.
1984 Deli category added.
1987 Retail stores renamed “Grocery Outlet”, to reflect a wider product offering.
1995 100th store opens.
1999 Fresh produce category added.
2001 Company acquires remaining liquidated inventories of Webvan and wine.com.
2002 Corporate name changed to “Grocery Outlet Inc.”
2003 Fresh meat category added.
2009 Introduction of “Grocery Outlet Bargain Market” format, which reflects the evolution of the company into a full-service neighborhood market, with great bargains on fresh products, as well as branded staples.