The ultra-competitive Southern California retail scene spawned several discount mart operations during the mid-century years, the most noteworthy of these being White Front, FedMart, Gemco, Unimart and Zodys. Most had succumbed to the woes of intense competition and economic recession by the early 1980s. Only two, Gemco (a membership club operation) and Zodys, survived into the mid-1980s.
The Zodys chain was created as a Southern California discount division of Hartfield Stores, a women's apparel retailer. The first Zodys opened, in Garden Grove, California, in June 1960. By 1969, there were nineteen locations around the Los Angeles Basin. Zodys stores encompassed between 67,000 and 100,000 square feet.
The parent company, by now known as Hartfield-Zodys, bought the Michigan-based Yankee Discount Stores operation in March 1972 and was rebranding stores, under the Zodys nameplate, though out 1973.
This Midwestern endeavor was unsuccessful due to the shrinking national economy and auto industry layoffs. All twenty-five Michigan and Indiana Zodys stores were shuttered in early 1975, which resulted in the parent company going through bankruptcy proceedings between November 1974 and March 1976.
In the midst of the bankruptcy, the Southern California sector experienced a turnaround. New stores opened in Arizona and New Mexico. At the end of the 1970s, there were thirty-seven Zodys stores.
The parent company adopted HRT Industries as its new corporate moniker in January 1982. The weak national economy caused the company to file a second bankruptcy in November. Problems were exacerbated by a the expansion of Minneapolis-based Target into the Zodys market in 1983.
Zodys store shutterings were underway by December 1984. All remaining locations were out of business by March 1986. Fourteen were acquired by Federated Stores and re-opened as Ralph's supermarkets. Others were taken by HomeClub (a division of Zayre) and by Target.
ZODYS-ANCHORED SHOPPING MALLS:
*DORT MALL, Flint, MI (1973)
*MARYVALE MALL, Phoenix, AZ (1975)