Once Upon an OC: Zodys Department Store

Once Upon an OC (working title)

by Marcy J. Massura


Before the Target and Wal-Mart battled for territory in OC, there were stores like Zodys who unabashedly labeled themselves ‘Fashion Discount’. Much like the Wal-Mart business model, Zody’s lived in stand alone buildings with huge parking lots out front. Inside under the glow of florescent lights was a multitude of departments which would occasionally have such odd pairing as toasters and underwear sharing aisle space. And in the days before we knew about things like Megan’s Law, my parents let me roam free while they shopped. They knew to find me in my the toy aisles when they were ready to go. Zodys was a dominate force in OC advertising, which frequent commercials showcased current specials. And in case you missed all the Zody commercials back in the day, because you were busy running to the kitchen to get a grape soda and some Jiffy Pop before Gimme A Break started, here is a typical one from 1981.


I think I miss the days of $7.99 acrylic blend scalloped trimmed sweaters, don’t you? And apparently I am not alone- Zodys has a Facebook fan page here.

Zody’s began in 1972 and by 1986 the last Zodys location closed, with many sites becoming Ralph Grocery Stores. This article from 1986 is fascinating in that it discusses the ‘void to be filled’. Who knew Target and Wal-Mart were waiting in the wings for the valuable OC market. I would love to hear your memories from Zodys. And if you worked there, and remember a little freckled faced pig-tailed girl who may or may not have OPENED a can of Play-Doh while waiting for her parents to finish buying a Hibachi propane grill, and then she PUT IT BACK on the shelf?

Um, it wasn’t me. 


Marcy Massura can be contacted directly with comments and suggestions for Once Upon an OC via email: marcymassura@gmail.com

photo courtesy



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