Sidney Applebaum, also known as Sid Applebaum, is an American businessman who was the co-founder of Big Top Liquors, Applebaum’s Food Markets, Rainbow Foods, and Sid’s Discount Liquors. Applebaum was the son of Bertha Applebaum and Oscar Applebaum, who were immigrants from Russia.
Early Life of Sidney Applebaum
He was born at St. Paul on February 28, 1924, and he was the second youngest child and the youngest son to his parents. Sidney had eight siblings.
In the early days, the family of 11 used to stay at a 3-bedroom house. His father opened a grocery store at 7th street (downtown St. Paul) and in St. Peter. Furthermore, he could do this because he took alone $65 from his eldest child. This becomes their first food store.
Also, Applebaum used to help his father to make rice bags and soaps. He even worked as a delivery boy who delivered fruits, vegetables, and other products.
Education of Sidney Applebaum
He studied at Humboldt Senior High School situated in West St. Paul. After school, he continued working for the family business. He helped to grow the business and helped to make it one of the successful food chain companies in the US.
Applebaum’s Grocery Shops
During the 1950s, Applebaum’s grocery shop has become a big food chain company, and it was handled by Sidney Applebaum and his 6 brothers also 2 brothers-in-law.
Furthermore, after 10 years, the company become national. At this time, Target stores by Dayton and Hudson were their main competitors. So, they made a chain of supermarkets and warehouses that was from Duluth to Houston.
By the mid-1960s, the business gain local fame, and this grocery chain won the community’s heart. The people started to appreciate the services provided by Applebaum. This did help the family business to grow on the national level.
In the late 1970s, he and his brothers made great progressed with the family business and started “Applebaum’s Food Markets.” Eventually, they had 30 stores in Duluth and Minnesota.
However, D.B. Reinhart, the National Tea founder of Gateway Foods, purchases all Applebaum’s Food Market stores. After this, Sidney started working with Gateway Foods, and he became in charge of retail operations in Twin Cities.
Furthermore, Sidney’s idea was to convert few Applebaum stores, and Reinhart decided to do so. Later they launched the new store called “Rainbow Foods” in the year 1982.
Merging with National Tea
In 1979, 26 shops of the Applebaum merged with the National Tea Corporation of Rosemount III. Also, this year their supermarkets become the biggest food retailer in Twins Cities. This happened because they merged 19 tea stores with Applebaum’s food chain making it one of the largest supermarkets in Twins Cities.
Later the Applebaum’s company bought 56 more stores from the National Tea and named it Gateway Foods. This bought back Applebaum to the lead again.
Rainbow Foods was first launched on October 1, 1983, and Sidney was the co-founder. Then he made this into the chief grocer and had 1/3 of the market share during the 1990s. It was a store-style market.
Furthermore, in the year 1994, this food chain was bought by Fleming Foods. Fleming Foods was a food chain in Texas. Then in 2003, it was bought by Roundy’s. Later, in 2014, some Rainbow Foods were sold to Supervalu Inc., and others were sold to Lund’s and Byerly’s.
Till the year 1996, Sidney was the CEO of Rainbow Foods even though there were many owners. Next year in 1997, Sidney Applebaum bought 4 “Holiday Foods” shops in Bloomington, Burnsville, Fridley, and Plymouth.
However, in 1998, he sold these stores to Supervalu Inc. Later, these stores were converted to “Club Foods” stores.
Sidney Applebaum – Personal Life
On September 17, 1945, he married Lorraine Smith. Later they had 3 children together named Ellen, Jay, and Nancy Applebaum. When he died, he had 8 grandkids and 5 great-grandkids.
While he was still working for the family business, Sidney purchased one liquor shop on Western Avenue. The store was located beside the Commodore Hotel.
In 1978, he and his children started Sid’s Discount Liquors and Big Top Liquors in the liquor shop chain.
One of the greatest pleasures for Sidney was to see and enjoying quality time with his family. Despite being busy with his schedule, he has never missed any sports activity, swim meet, dance performance, golf match, or football games for his kids and grandkids.
Furthermore, he loved to play different sports with his kids and grandkids. Most of the time, they used to play golf.
Every winter, he spent his time at Palm Springs in California, where he spends time with his family and friends.
Moreover, he was well-known in his community as he was heavily engaged with his work. Besides, Sidney worked with many boards such as the United Hospital, Children’s Cancer Research, University of Minnesota, The Highland Bank, and Oak Ridge Country Club. He was also a member of St. Paul Rotary and the Shriners.
Furthermore, he also helped to manage the St. Paul Winter Carnival and the Olympic Festival. In 1997, Sidney Applebaum was awarded “Grocer of the Century” by the Minnesota Grocers Association due to his amazing and long career in the food and grocery industry.
Last Few Years of Applebaum
Sidney was working on some projects before he passed away. He wanted to make a new food chain, and he was working on something to expand his business. Moreover, he even cleared a lot of his stores to build new stores in that place. However, before seeing his new project, he passed on August 6, 2016, at 92.
For most of his life, he has been working for his company. Despite being old and used a walker to support him, he didn’t stop working until a week before he passed away.
Sidney’s Achievements and Awards
We already talked about how he has won the “Grocer of the century,” which is considered one of the biggest awards in the grocery industry.
In 2014, for his huge achievement of the Big Top Liquors, he became the “Market Watch Leader.”
Moreover, people know him for his determination, ethics, and passion for work. He has always helped people who are in need without any ill intentions.
Sidney believed that he should always give back to the community and the people who have given to him and his family. This statement made Sidney caring and modest.
He was also a part of several boards that helped people in need and people from backward classes.
Due to his service to society, in 1994, United Hospital awarded him the “Service to Humanity Award.” Later in the year 2005, the hospital declared him as the “Trustee of the Year.”
The world will remember him as a successful businessman, his love for his family, and how much he has done for the community.
Saturday Night Live Joke on Sidney Applebaum
When you watch this episode of SNL with Bill Hader, the joke about Sidney will make you laugh uncontrollably if you know about the history. Even Bill Hader, who was in this character, could not stop himself from laughing about it.
Today understand this joke you need to know about the history very well to enjoy it.
The joke is that Sidney’s name is compared with Dracula. If you do not know, it might seem weird at first, but people who know him cannot control their laughter.
Moreover, this joke was based on the famous comedy movie “Love and Death” by Woody Allen. Here in the movie, one of the generals will say that if he wins, then the world will remember him as Sidney Applebaum. This nonsequiturs statement made the movie not only great as well as hilarious.
Now on SNL, Stefon, also called sitcom genius, talked about the Halloween party. He was about to say on the show that the Jewish version of Dracula is Blacula. But he changed Blacula to Sidney Applebaum. This made everyone in the audience laugh out loud.
Now there are two reasons why people find this joke funny. One of them is that the audience expected that Dracula’s name would be something cool and hilarious. However, it turned out to be a common and ordinary name. The joke was sarcastic.
Another reason might be Dracula is considered evil, dark, and a nightmare. So, the present people there would never forget his name like we still remember Sidney’s name.
Sidney is one of the most successful businessmen in the food and grocery industry. He has done a lot for his company as well as for the people. Moreover, from a young age, he has helped his family to run the business. He used to be a delivery boy, and later, he was the owner of multiple grocery food chains.
Furthermore, he has received a lot of prestigious awards in his life. He loved his work so much that he worked for his whole life except the week before he passed away.