Purity Stores (California)

Established in the San Francisco area in 1929, this chain operated at least as far south as Fresno and as far north as Fort Bragg, although most of its stores were along the coast, many of them in small towns. The owners, the Niven family, liquidated the chain in 1972 and now operate a Nothern California winery. The Fort Bragg location was still operating as the last remaining Purity store, with original signage in place, as late as 2003.

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One thought on “Purity Stores (California)

  1. Chris

    May 7, 2019 at 7:35pm

    Purity also had stores in Fortuna and Eureka, so Eureka was the most northern store. The Purity in Fortuna is what is now Rays Food Place. Prior to being Rays it was Food Mart, but it was built as Purity. Eureka had two stores , one in Henderson center, that building which had a major remodel , is now Joanne’s Fabric. The store in downtown Eureka is currently Picky Picky Surplus on the corner of 6th and E street. It was built as a Purity, then became many other things afterward including Bonanza 88, Yellow Front and Factory To U. Seems like it was other things too, but it was built as Purity.

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    • Jim

      November 2, 2021 at 10:01am

      I can remember walking to and from the Purity Grocery Store in Henderson Center as a kid. Mom didn’t drive, so would load my younger brother and I in the Western Flyer wagon and pull us to the store, the grocery’s road in wagon on the way home and we walked.

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  2. Greg Brown

    September 2, 2019 at 11:21pm

    Did Purity sponsor some kind of televised home participation game show? I seem to remember something like that in the late 60s.

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    • Patsy Hudspeth

      April 29, 2021 at 1:02pm

      My dad worked for Purity Grocers for many many years. He did everything from stocker, produce, produce manager, assistant manager, manager, to trouble-shooter. He was good at it all and never missed a beat. Our family survived the earthquake early years ( I was a baby ) in Eureka Calif. But Purity was not so lucky and I think I have bkack and white photos of the damage it did to the store but they quickly repaired and then I think we moved so dad could tend to another store perhaps his own in Pixley Ca. Not a Purity though I know he worked at the one in Los Gatos, and Portervile many years ago. We lost daddy in 2007 ( Comanche, Tx. ) and mom in 2017 (Comanche, Tx.

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  3. James

    May 26, 2020 at 6:31pm

    Purity had a store in San Luis Obispo, CA. They also had a game where you received a horse race ticket for buying groceries. The results of the race were given just before 8pm on Saturday in a sort-of long commercial. My mother won some 50 cent pieces that she kept for over 60 years.

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  4. Patsy A. Hudspeth

    July 15, 2020 at 11:24pm

    my father worked for Purity stores for many many years from being a stocker, assistant manager, produce manager, troubleshooter, you name it he did it. he works at the one in Eureka when they have their big earthquake it pretty much destroyed the store we survived it I was just a baby I don’t remember the earthquake itself that I remember my crib going from one side of the room to the other and I was saying weeee. He worked at Purity in Los Gatos California Porterville California just all over Purity stores I can’t say enough about how great they were!

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  5. Kate Gonzales

    November 16, 2020 at 11:37pm

    My husbands grandfather worked as a butcher for Purity Stores in Hollister, CA in 1940s – a detail we found on his draft card for WWII.

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  6. KV Bunker

    January 9, 2021 at 10:16am

    Purity in Fort Bragg continues to operate under the name as of January 2021.

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  7. Lorraine Fry

    February 17, 2021 at 12:31am

    Were there any PURITY stores in or near San Jose, California, in the late ‘50s / early ‘60s? I have a vague memory of shopping with my Mom at an unfamiliar market when I was very young, and when I asked her the name of the store, I think she answered, “Purity.” But she doesn’t remember such a place anymore. Maybe somebody out there does?

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    • Author
    • Newark California had one. The facade on the roof had P along the top. They closed and another grocery store opened but the P was in the cement design of the building that it stayed until the tore

      July 30, 2021 at 7:45pm

      Newark had one Newark Blvd and mayhew landing

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    • Kerry M.

      September 23, 2021 at 7:07pm

      There was a Purity store in downtown Palo Alto on a side street off of University Ave.

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  8. Burt Codispoti

    March 11, 2021 at 7:29pm

    The CoOp in Arcata was also a Purity, even further north than Eureka.

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  9. Alf Doten

    March 29, 2021 at 1:43pm

    Yep…….glad Burt chimed in. Purity (the new store) is the Arcata Co-op. Just adjacent on the NE corner of 9th & I Street was the original Purity with its small parking lot in the back that probably dated from 1940. It became Hensel Hardware but the building burned in the 1990’s and the present structure bares no relation to the original building. Old Purity stores are identifiable by their distinctive “quansit hut” curved roof and adjacent small parking lots that transitioned well into hardware stores and garden shops.

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  10. Craig T Blake

    October 24, 2021 at 8:35pm

    My Dad was the store manager for that loser company when they decided to close his store in San Anselmo, CA, around the year 1960. What did they offer him? A job as a “checker” at half his former salary and quite a ways from San Anselmo. Smartly, he went and formed a partnership with two others and they bought a large supermarket in nearby Santa Venetia.

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  11. John D. Kaylor

    November 8, 2021 at 12:30pm

    I remember my dad working for Purity Stores in Gilroy, Ca. He was their chief mechanic at the warehouse facility. so many memories of me going with him on the road to repair those Peterbilt rigs broken down along the highways. Not to mention the sawdust on the floors of the Quonset hut grocery stores or the free banana someone would always give me when I got to visit the warehouse on the south end of town. 65 years ago went by so fast.

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