Students learn about the history of how Joe Albertson started his grocery store chain, the largest grocery store chain in Idaho and beyond.
Standard: 413.43 Name some of the contributions made by individuals in bringing about industrial changes to Idaho.
- No materials necessary for this lesson
Tell students that the first Albertsons grocery store was started by Joe Albertson in Boise in 1939. An ad described the store as “Idaho's largest and finest food store,” which it was at the time. The store had free parking, a money-back guarantee, meaning you could return items if you were not satisfied, and it even included an ice cream shop and a doughnut machine. All of these were new innovations for grocery stores back then. The first Albertsons was a great success and new stores opened in neighboring towns. As the story goes, when Joe Albertson considered opening a new store, he would drive through towns looking for neighborhoods that had lots of children; that’s where he wanted his stores to be built. Today, Albertsons is the second largest supermarket chain in North America, with over 2,000 stores. There is a monument in downtown Boise that commemorates the original store, which is no longer there.
Ask students what was special about Joe Albertson’s store. Ask them why they think Joe Albertson wanted to build stores in neighborhoods with lots of kids.
Have students discuss how Albertsons has contributed to the economy of Idaho and why it is still an important part of Idaho’s history.
Expand the lesson (10 minutes):
Ask students to think about starting their own grocery store. Have them answer the following questions:
What would they want to sell in their store today that may not be in the grocery stores today?
Where would they build their stores? Why?
How would they decide the prices of their items?
Answers may include that children need and like to eat and parents liked being able to get to the stores near their homes.
Answers may include that farmers grew food for the stores and the stores provided jobs for people who lived in or near the towns that had one of the Albertsons stores. It is an important part of Idaho’s history because many people and generations of families have shopped at Albertsons or worked at Albertsons.