Abraham Haas: Pioneer Jewish Purveyer of Food Stuffs, Wholesale & Retail, Part 1, Los Angeles

Abraham Haas  

Abraham Haas

Values Cade: I-E-P

Abraham Haas was born in Bavaria in 1847 and arrived in Los Angeles, by way of the Isthmas of Panama at the age of 17.

He started a wholesale/retail grocery store with his brother, Jacob, and other partners, Herman  W. Hellman and Bernard Cohn.

Hellman, Hass and Company

Hass, Baruch & Hellman Co., Los Angeles

Hellman, Hass and Company was founded in Los Angeles around 1867 and was located on Los Angeles Street, across from H. Newmark &  Co.

They sold “everything from drugs to explosives.”

Packaged goods were unknown: Hellman, Haas’ food staples arrived in bulk and typically were sold by weight.

There were prunes in huge casks, barrels of currants from Greece and rice for the town’s burgeoning Chinese population.


So vital was the store that Hellman, Haas was one of seven names in the first Los Angeles phone directory.

Hass Branches Out

Haas’ Underground Los Angeles Power Plant

From his share of profits from Hellman, Haas & Co., Abraham Haas launched the first flour milling and cold storage businesses in Los Angeles, along with several electricity and gas companies — the forerunners of current Southern California power companies.

Haas, Baruch Co.

In the 1880’s, Hellman, Haas & Co. had changed hands: The sole owners now were Abraham Haas and Jacob Baruch, who bought out Herman Hellman when Hellman took over as Manager of the Farmers and Merchants Bank.

The company name was changed to Haas, Baruch & Co. in 1889.

By 1900, Haas, Baruch & Co. was the burgeoning city’s preeminent wholesale grocer.


Smart & Final

Haas, Baruch in Los Angeles eventually morphed into the current Smart & Final grocery chain.

There was a real Mr. Smart and a real Mr. Final.

The Koshland Family of San Francisco

Abraham Haas

Abraham Haas married Fanny Koshland of San Francisco in 1886


San Francisco

Abraham Haas left Southern California at this time and moved to San Francisco to found Haas Wholesale Grocers which became the leading wholesaler in the Bay Area.

(See Abraham Haas in the San Francisco Exhibition Hall.)



Abraham Haas died August 8, 1921


More information can be found in the following issues of Western States Jewish History:

  • Haas, Abraham; Abe Haas: Portrait of a Proud Businessman; Los Angeles; Scharlach, Bernice; 12/1
  • Haas Brothers, Pioneer Jews of San Francisco, Part One, A-L, Norton Stern, 41/1

Hass Photo Gallery

Plaque to Hass Electrical Powerplant, Los Angeles










More Early Los Angeles Jewish Pioneers

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