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Our Piece of Thrifty’s

Here it is, right at home in the diner!

Mel and I acquired this double-sided Thrifty sign a few months ago and I just got around to hanging it yesterday (I am fighting a cold and have been down a few days). This sign goes so nicely with our other diner stuff. I remember Thrifty stores when I was growing up. My parents would take me there for ice cream. Though their ice cream was simple, it was good (winner of numerous ice cream awards). Thrifty Ice Cream is manufactured at the Thrifty creamery in El Monte, California. I used to always get Rainbow Sherbet. Though the company was purchased by Rite Aid, the ice cream is still sold under the Thrifty name. We came across this sign at a local antique shop and snatched it up. I really did not have to do any resto on it but I did have to attach mounting brackets to hang it on the wall. I would have liked to hang it showing both sides but for now this will work. In 1996, Rite Aid acquired 1,000 West Coast stores from Thrifty PayLess Holdings, creating a chain with over 3,500 drug stores.

History of Thrifty:

In 1919, brothers Harry and Robert Borun, with brother-in-law Norman Levin founded Borun Brothers a Los Angeles, California drug wholesaler. In 1929, they opened their own retail outlets under the name Thrifty Cut Rate in Los Angeles, California.

By 1942, Thrifty Drug Stores had 58 stores.

A neon Thrifty drug store sign is visible in the background of a scene from the 1954 Judy Garland version of A Star Is Born.

During the 1950s, a Thrifty commercial jingle was heard on numerous radio stations in Southern California:

Save a nickel, save a dime.
Save at Thrifty every time.
Save a dollar and much more,
at your Thrifty Drug Store!”

Until the early 1980s, every Thrifty store featured a tube tester, usually located near the cosmetics display case. There was still a wide variety of tube-type and hybrid tube/transistor consumer electronics in use, and the local Thrifty store was a convenient place to test TV and radio tubes and purchase replacements. Thrifty also published a brochure which showed various malfunctioning TV presentations and suggested which section’s tube or tubes might be the problem. The brochure also provided numbered stickers to aid consumers in making sure that the good tubes went back into the same sockets in their equipment.

In 1988, Thrifty acquired Pay ‘n Save and Bi-Mart.

In Washington State, Thrifty went by the name of Giant T since the Thrifty name was in use by another chain of drug stores. The name was later changed to Thrifty in 1984. Later all Thrifty stores in Washington state were renamed to Pay ‘n Save after the acquisition.



here is the sign hung above our diner booths. Now, all we need is the ice cream.

Here it is all lit up.

I love the colors and imagery.

13 responses »

  1. Oh Hepcat, this is such a nostalgic post for me & I LOVE your sign, it looks so adorable there in your diner. I’m surprised you remember Thrify’s – it’s been such a long time since it’s been gone. Lots of fun & lovely memories at Thrifty’s – my kids too had lots of ice cream treats there & the best part was that you could get a cone for REAL cheap & back in those days that meant a LOT (HAH! It’d sure mean a lot again these days – I doubt Rite Aid offers a double scooper for 50 cents!) And omigosh, I’d almost forgotten about the tube testers! They were VERY handy I tell ya. I did have a great find a couple of weeks ago when I visited another OLD ice cream place from my childhood – Gunthers (which I think I’m going to blog about soon) – they sell a really pretty poster which I bought & plan to hang in my kitchen. Ever been there?? Nothing, and I mean NOTHING has changed in 70+ years and that was a very nice thing. Anyway, thanks so much for this post – it really touched a sweet memory nerve. For the bazillionith time….You’re just sumthin else kiddo!


    • hepcatrestorations

      I was around when Thrifty’s was in the Arden area I think. My mom use to rent an apartment behind what is now the Arden Mall. We use to walk over, go to the arcade with $20 for my sister and I and play games (that $20 lasted a long time). Then after we left the arcade we would walk over to Thrifty’s just down the way for two scoops. That was soo long ago, 20+ years. I miss how simple things use to entertain us. Oh well! Thanks for the comment Vic.


  2. Your blog is utterly fantastic. I revel in your collection and wonderful history tid-bits! This time I remembered vividly those square-ish Thifty scoops — my fave was a orange sherbet and pineapple coconut double scoop. What fun! Thank you for sharing all this. Lookin’ at handsome Kirk first thing in the morning doesn’t hurt either 😉


    • hepcatrestorations

      Oh yeah! I forgot about pineapple coconut! I loved that flavor too. I am so happy you are diging the site. Thanks soo much for your comment.


  3. Richard Schwartz

    No one mentioned 2 scoops for a dime 1 for a nickel. Last year the local Rite-Aid had lemon. It was wonderful. Can’t find it anywhere now.


  4. I heard someone say they had an Italian restaurant inside some of them. is this true?


    • Hey John, I have never heard that before but who knows. Anything is possible. For example, Macy’s in San Francisco has a Cheesecake Factory restaurant on top of the building.


      • Let’s really go back…I went to Canfield Ave. Grammer School with Richard Borun whose father was part owner of Thrifty’s. My mother worked as a clerk at Thrifty’s from 1940 to 1944 The first store was on Pico Blvd. (by Robertson ) between Wooster and Shenandoah. The next store was in Beverly Hills at Wilshire and Canon. When my mother had to work until midnight i would go to her job and eat dinner at the counter then go across the street to see movies at the theater .Once the store brcame flooded from rain and all the clerks sat on the counters winding up toy boats and propelling them all over the store. When mentionjng ICE CREAM don’t forget the dining counter’s ice crean sodas and banana splits. . ..

        Liked by 1 person

      • So glad it brought back memories!


    • No it is not true. My father was Richard Borun (mentioned below). We did not have any italian restaurants in the stores – only ice cream.



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