Monday, May 22, 2017

Joe Albertson

When Joe Albertson started working for the Safeway chain of supermarkets, he may have dreamed of owning the store someday. In a sense, he ended up owning the store and the Safeway chain.
From the time he attended the College of Idaho, graduating in 1925, all Joe Albertson wanted was to be a grocer. He worked for Safeway, a chain that started in Idaho, for several years, then borrowed $7,500 from his aunt and matched that with $5,000 of his own savings to start his own grocery store on State Street in Boise. That was in 1939. Joe added a store and another and another until he had a string of Albertsons stores. It was a well-known chain throughout the West when he died in 1993.
Albertsons all but disappeared for a time after his death, but former employees of the company reorganized under the Albertsons name in 2006. The company is a now a retail giant, reportedly the fastest growing retailer in May, 2017 (see link at the bottom of this post).
Joe Albertson would probably be proud that the company he started now owns the company he first worked for, Safeway, as well as many others. Perhaps he's best remembered, though, for his philanthropy. The two best examples are his donation of Katheryn Albertson Park in Boise, and the Albertson Foundation, which still gives millions to Idaho projects, particularly in the field of education.

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