Our Story

Stater Bros. Markets is rooted in the American tradition and proudly celebrates a rich legacy of service to this great nation. Tracing its beginnings back to a small grocery store in Yucaipa, CA, twin brothers and World War II veterans Cleo and Leo Stater purchased the original Stater Bros. Market from W.A. Davis with a $600 down payment.  In the midst of the Great Depression, Stater Bros. officially opened for business on August 17, 1936.

Headquartered in San Bernardino, CA, Stater Bros. Markets is proudly celebrating 85 years of serving Southern California families. Today, Stater Bros. operates 170 supermarkets in seven counties throughout the area, and has approximately 18,000 employees with annual sales of over $4 billion.

In 1981, Stater Bros. late Executive Chairman Jack H. Brown, a proud Navy veteran born on Flag Day, took the helm of Stater Bros.  Under Brown’s leadership the Company grew to become the largest privately owned Supermarket Chain in Southern California and the largest private employer in both Riverside and San Bernardino counties.  Brown passed away in 2016. 

Prior to his passing, Brown appointed seasoned supermarket industry executive Pete Van Helden to the position of President and CEO.  Van Helden, who now holds the position of CEO, reports to Stater Bros. Chairman Phillip J. Smith who also celebrates his birthday on Flag Day.

Over the years Stater Bros. has become an iconic Southern California mainstay and trusted household name by consistently providing generations of customers with exceptional quality, everyday low prices, friendly service, fresh product offerings and full-service Meat Departments.

The Company has been named amongst the Top 20 companies in the United States to offer exceptional job security for its employees according to a recent report published on Forbes.com.  The Company has also been rated as the “best place to shop for groceries” among Full Service Supermarket Chains in Southern California according to a Leading National Consumer Magazine. 

Additionally, the Company remains steadfast in its commitment to “not just doing business in the community, but being part of the community.”  Since 2008, Stater Bros. has contributed more than $80 million in food and funds to countless local organizations that support hunger relief, children’s well-being, education, health, and help for our Nation’s Veterans and active service members.  

Our founders Cleo & Leo

Sometime between 1912 and 1915, Clarence and Mary Stater moved their family from Miller, Missouri to Escondido, California. During the Depression they moved farther north to the Yucaipa Valley, a small rural community situated just south of the city of Redlands, California. The depression had taken a heavy toll on their livelihood. They were struggling and on the verge of losing their small farm.


Out of desperation, the family made a decision that would shape their future and have a profound effect on thousands of lives in the years to come. It was mutually agreed that Cleo, one of the twin sons, would sacrifice his last year of high school and look for work to help support the family. Jobs were extremely scarce during the winter of 1931 but Cleo was persistent. He was willing to do anything and applied everywhere. After weeks of disappointment, he walked into a small grocery store on West Yucaipa Blvd. owned by W.A. Davis, and although Cleo had no experience and knew nothing about the grocery business, Mr. Davis agreed to pay him 10¢ an hour to man the cash register, sweep the floor and stock the shelves.


Cleo worked hard and as time passed, Mr. Davis taught him how to take inventory, maintain accounting records, cut meat and everything else involved in operating a grocery store. After five years, Cleo, now 24 years old, was making $30 a week and had learned all of the business fundamentals. His loyalty and diligence had made him a valuable employee for Mr. Davis, and the educational sacrifice and the financial contribution that Cleo was able to provide helped his family recover.


In 1936 Davis offered Cleo the opportunity to buy the business, which included the store and the inventory, the land, a company truck, a 10-acre apple ranch and the W.A. Davis five-room home on the corner of Yucaipa Ave. and E St., all for the total price of $10,000.

Years later, Cleo recalled, “He wanted $600 as a down payment, which was like a fortune back then when a dime would buy two pounds of oleo. Then he wanted the balance in $300 monthly payments.”

Cleo went to Leo, his twin brother, to discuss ways to obtain the financing. The twins sold their Chevrolets to raise the $600 down payment because, they said, “Owing that much money, we were not going anywhere anyway.” However, they were still short $300 for the first monthly installment. After exhausting all other options and about to give up, Cleo decided to take a chance and approach M.D. Holsinger, the richest man in the valley, who owned the town lumber company. Cleo recalled, “He just looked at me and said, ‘If Davis is crazy enough to sell you his store for that small price, then I guess I’m crazy enough to loan you the money.'”

So the first 1,225 sq. ft. Stater Bros. Market, located on West Yucaipa Blvd. opened for business on Monday, August 17, 1936.

Bios

Accordion Content
Accordion Content
Accordion Content
Accordion Content
Accordion Content
Accordion Content
Accordion Content
Accordion Content
Accordion Content
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.