Tom Thumb (grocery store)

Last updated
Tom Thumb
Type Grocer, Subsidiary of Albertsons
Industry Retail
Founded1948(73 years ago) (1948)
Headquarters Roanoke, Texas
Number of locations
64 [1]
Areas served
ProductsBakery, dairy, delicatessen, frozen foods, grocery, meat, pharmacy, produce, seafood, snacks, liquor, fuel

Tom Thumb is a chain of supermarkets in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. It operates under the name Tom Thumb for traditional grocery stores and Flagship Tom Thumb for higher end stores in affluent areas.[ citation needed ] It makes up part of the Southern division of Albertsons. When combined with sister chains Albertsons and Market Street, it is (as of May 2015) the number two supermarket group in the competitive Dallas/Fort Worth area (in terms of market share) behind Walmart. [2] The chain's distribution center is in Roanoke, Texas. [3]



Typical Tom Thumb Store Dallas, TX Tom Thumb store.jpg
Typical Tom Thumb Store Dallas, TX

Tom Thumb was founded in 1948 by J.R. Bost and Robert B. Cullum as Tom Thumb Food Stores after acquiring 6 Toro supermarkets (Cullum was grocery supplier to Toro when Toro folded and the owner fled the country). [4] It was once a publicly traded company on the NYSE under the name Cullum Companies. By 1956 it had grown to 20 stores. They bought 34 Hinky Dinky stores in the Midwest, 17 Pantry Food Markets in California, as well as Page Drug Stores (Tom Thumb added the "Page" to their store names after the acquisition). The freestanding Page stores were later sold to Eckerd. They also bought the gourmet specialty Simon David stores in 1963.

Tom Thumb expanded its reach to Austin, Texas, in 1972 when the grocer entered that market. [5]

Tom Thumb partnered with Wal-Mart in 1987 to create Hypermart USA stores, but the initial lack of success led them to drop out in 1991. There were several locations including Garland, Texas, and Arlington, Texas. They were the early prototype for the current Walmart Supercenter concept, though they were much larger than today's Supercenters.

In January 1989, Cullum Companies sold six of its Tom Thumb stores in Austin to Albertsons.

The company was acquired by the Randalls chain of Houston in 1992 and adopted a logo similar to Randalls, but retained the Tom Thumb name. Randalls converted the seven Tom Thumb stores in the Austin market to Randalls in January 1994, the same time it acquired and converted nine AppleTree Markets. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] The Simon David in the Arboretum Market was not converted, but it would close in December 1996 and would be converted into a Saks Fifth Avenue [12] [13] then to a Trader Joe's in June 2014. [14] Though after many customers lamented the loss of Austin's only Simon David, Randalls decided in 1998 to make its Bee Caves store a Flagship Randalls supermarket, the first in the city and the eighth in the chain. [15]

In 1999 Randalls Food Markets was acquired by Safeway. Safeway retained the Randalls name in Houston and Austin and the Tom Thumb name in Dallas/Fort Worth, but replaced many of the Tom Thumb/Randalls "Remarkable" store brands with Safeway private label items. Randalls Food Markets became Safeway's Texas division, which today is legally known as Randalls Food & Drugs.

By 2001, Randalls operated 69 stores in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area under the Tom Thumb and Simon David banners.

In early 2005, Safeway was rumored to be attempting to sell the then 138-store Randalls division. [16] Instead, Safeway announced by the end of the year it would close 15 Randalls stores in the Houston area, one in Austin, and nine Tom Thumb stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. [17] Following the closures Randalls operated 62 Tom Thumb stores in Dallas. Safeway said the move would revitalize the Texas division and that it planned to remodel stores to fit its "Lifestyle" format and introduce proprietary products. The new Lifestyle format features an expanded selection of perishables and a number of unique[ citation needed ] offerings, including a large selection of natural and organic foods, full-service meat counters, full-service bakeries and floral design centers, as well as sushi bars and olive bars.

Beginning in 2006, some Tom Thumb stores began operating under Safeway's "Lifestyle Store" concept. Lifestyle stores carry an expanded selection of finer foods, ready-to-eat meals, and have a more upscale decor.[ citation needed ]. In January 2015, Safeway Inc. was acquired by Albertsons, and Tom Thumb (but not Randalls) was re-aligned under the Albertsons Southern Division. By this time, it had 57 stores operating under the Tom Thumb name. In March 2017, Albertsons announced that the Houston distribution center would close in late 2017 and all Texas stores (including Randalls) would be serviced from the Roanoke distribution center. [18]

Loyalty program

Tom Thumb offers a loyalty card (Reward Card) similar to many shopper’s card programs. The loyalty card is currently good at all Albertsons Companies-owned stores. During the period after Tom Thumb was purchased by Randalls but before Randalls was purchased by Safeway, the card was accepted at both Tom Thumb and Randalls locations. The original Reward Card program was based on the Promise Club program originally developed by Tom Thumb beginning in 1985. The Promise Club program included "Electronic Checks" (EFT), special discounts for card users, prizes based on points accrued while shopping with the card, and direct mail advertising to card holder's homes. [19]


  3. "Distribution Centers Archived 2011-07-15 at the Wayback Machine ." Safeway Inc. 2. Retrieved on May 13, 2010.
  4. Kiker, Karley. "Cullums Grew Tom Thumb Into Giant Among Dallas Grocers". Park Cities People. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  5. Austin Chain is Acquired by Cullum, Dallas Morning News, July 18, 1972
  6. Randalls shuts three AppleTrees; Nine other area stores are closed temporarily for conversion after grocery buyout, Austin American-Statesman, January 19, 1994.
  7. Clash of the titans; Industry giants Randalls, H.E.B. battle for bucks, buyers' interest, Austin American-Statesman, January 22, 1994.
  8. Updates from the aisles of Austin's new and changing food stores The goods on groceries, Austin American-Statesman, March 23, 1994.
  9. Grocery stores change names to Randall's, Austin American-Statesman, January 8, 1994.
  10. Randalls banner flies over old Tom Thumbs, Austin American-Statesman, January 13, 1994.
  11. Hudgins, Matt (July 25, 1997). "Randalls plans to close Lake Creek location". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved 21 October 2006.
  12. Saks Fifth Ave. signs letter of intent Austin Business Journal, August 30, 1996.
  13. Constructors & Associates turns Simon David into Saks Austin Business Journal, April 18, 1997.
  14. Dinges, Gary. "Trader Joe's (finally) confirms Arboretum-area store". American-Statesman. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  15. Randalls brings Flagship specialty store concept to Austin, Austin American-Statesman, September 24, 1998.
  16. Goll, David (February 18, 2005). "Safeway to move on Randalls/Tom Thumb's blues?". East Bay Business Times. Retrieved 21 October 2006.
  17. "Safeway to close nine Dallas-Fort Worth Tom Thumb stores". Dallas Business Journal. October 18, 2005. Retrieved 21 October 2006.
  18. "". link in |title= (help)
  19. Ives, Blake; Constantine, Eugene J.; Constantine, Ruth F. "Web-Case: Tom Thumb Promise Card". Old Dominion University. Old Dominion University. Retrieved 5 March 2016.

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