Fedco was once a membership department store that had several locations around the Greater Los Angeles Area. It went bankrupt during the mid-1990s despite being 3-5 times better than any other nationwide chain.

The store always had lower prices than say, Target, or Wal-Mart. There were always more than enough staff to help out the customers. And there were services there that you can't imaging finding at a major department store, some of these services being, tailoring, camera repair and keys duplication. They even had a seperate home furniture building, at least in Pasadena. It is sad to see the old Fedco in Pasadena now being turned into a Target.

Fedco stands for Federal Employees Distributing Company, it was a non-profit California corporation and wholly member-owned. It was founded in 1957 by 800 postal workers and started out as a small storefront on Slauson Avenue, in downtown Los Angeles where one would order products out of a catalog and then pick them up later. It eventually reached 13 stores (10 membership retail stores; 3 appliance and furniture centers), with some in Pasadena, Van Nuys, and Ontario. Its relatively limited expansion in its 50+ year existance was due largely to the fact that when they opened a new store, it was not under any sort of finance. Fedco paid for it completely, it had a strict corporate policy of refusing debt.

The stores had very loyal customers, largely because it was a one stop shop for nearly everything, resembling a Wal-Mart Supercenter (With some more like shoe repair), and had prices that were lower then anywhere else, period. Even if a few items were a bit more expensive, you saved a lot more overall. Customer service at Fedco was also excellent, there was always someone in every department there to help.

The most interesting thing about Fedco was not that it was membership-only, but it was required that you were either a full-time student, worked for the government in some way (i.e. USPS, IRS, government contractors) or worked for a non-profit company. It would eventually gain at least 3 million members.

Eventually Fedco was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankrupcy in 1999, I have never gotten any definative word on what caused it, as it was extremely unexpected. The most likey story I have heard was that the long time CEO decided to step down, and the replacement embezzeled all the company's money and ran. In the end, Target purchased their real estate assets for $120 million, and remodeled most of them.

Perhaps someone will revive Fedco, as it was truly an excellent store.

I have to agree that Fedco was an incredible store. Back in the early 80's I bought a $1500 VCR for $750. Half-price, typical for them. (Yes, by today's standards the price is ridiculous, but back then, that's what they were...) I remember buying a $1500 (again, apparently) Sony TV for $1000 from Fedco. Still high-cost, but a 33% discount is nothing to sniff at. They had great deals. I bought the carpet for my condominium from them, again because of their great prices.

I had a friend who worked at the "Harbor Blvd" store in So Cal (Costa Mesa). He worked in the photo shop. He once made up a nametag that ID'd him as "Matt Finish". Very funny for someone working in photos. That was the "tone" of the store: easy-going, and great deals. I'm sorry to hear they went bankrupt, they were a "Costco-times-two" place, IMHO. Great deals, great selection, and just "fun" to shop. I wish they'd continued to be successful...

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