Facts and Events
About Eugene Gelson
Eugene Gelson was born 4 October 1921 in Sioux City, Woodbury County, Iowa, the second son of Jacob M. "Jake" Gelson (abt. 1890-1944) and his wife Lena Sachs (b. abt. 1894), both immigrants from Russia who came to America in the early 1900's.
Both Eugene and his older brother Bernard "Bernie" Gelson got their first taste of the grocery business working in their parent's small Iowa grocery store for several years before the family migrated to Southern California in the 1930's. After they opened a three smaller "practice Gelson's stores" that they realized did not contain enough space for everything that Bernie and Eugene needed, their first Gelson's supermarket opened in July 1951 in Burbank, California, a 25,000 square foot store that was then modernistic in design with spacious aisles and a wide selection of products for their customers.
After several additional stores were added over the years and continued innovations and increased product selection were included, Gelson's became one of the premier upscale supermarkets in the country, boasting its superior service, restaurant-quality product offering and wide selection. Gelson's grew to 18 stores throughout Southern California by 2011, when it celebrated its 60th anniversary.
Eugene Gelson passed away on 9 May 1982 in Los Angeles, California, pre-deceasing his older brother by some 23 years. After Eugene passed, Bernie continued to guide and lead Gelson's through the increasingly competitive retail environment with continued success until he passed away at his home in January 2005.