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The Gelson's Difference

Updated on November 13, 2014

Two brothers growing up in Iowa helped their father at the family's grocery store. As they grew older, Bernard and Eugene Gelson moved to California, and after World War II, opened their first Gelson's Market in Burbank in 1951. They promised customers the best quality products and services that a store could provide.

What makes Gelson's different? They have on-site chefs, fresh restaurant-quality foods, fresh seafood, just picked produce, a wide selection of grocery items and a talented in-house staff dietitian, Jessica Siegel, MPH, RD.

Gelson's Mission Statement

To make shopping anywhere else unacceptable for consumers who value quality products, cleanliness, convenience, and personal service.

Today shoppers visit multiple stores in one week. At Gelson's they try to spoil their guests to entice them to come in more often.

Ladies in the Center - Donna Tyndle and Jessica Siegel


Donna Tyndall - Senior Vice President, Store Operations

When the first Gelson's store opened in Burbank in 1951, Donna Tyndall wasn't born, yet her parents shopped there. During high school, Donna bagged groceries at the Burbank Gelson's and worked her way through UCLA at Gelson's.

Now, 47 years later, Donna is the Senior VP of Store Operations. She fondly remembers working with Bernie and Gene. "Bernie always learned every customers name," said Tyndall at speaking engagement in La Canada, CA at the Thursday Club. "We continue to encourage our employees and managers to get to know each customer to create the Gelson's Family."

Jessica's Healthy Living Resources

Jessica Siegel, MPH, RD, has been Gelson's staff dietitian for 13 years. She offers the most up-to-date, reliable nutrition information and advice for customers and Gelson employees. Eating quality food can be easy, delicious and fun with Jessica's help.

You can visit Jessica at her office, located in the Century City Gelson's store or call her at 1-800-GELSONS, or e-mail her at

She counsels customers on diverse topics, including weight loss, high cholesterol, child nutrition and cooking. Jessica also visits several of the 18 store locations each month where she offers services such as body fat testing, store tours, diet upgrades and food demos.

To assist customers with their special dietary concerns, Jessica has prepared a No Gluten Ingredient Listing, a Very Low Sodium Shopping List and Jessica's Healthy Shopping List featuring healthful foods around the store.

Healthful Recipes by Jessica is a line of wholesome prepared foods, available in all of Gelson's Service Delis. These delicious dishes are appropriate for people with weight concerns, heart disease and diabetes, as well as those who are working to prevent certain lifestyle-related diseases. Complimentary tastes of Jessica's creations are available at every Gelson's Service Deli.

Whether you are interested in feeding your family, preventing chronic diseases, losing weight, shopping for healthful groceries or preparing balanced meals, you will find here a vast collection of resources and tools on Jessica's blog.

Preparing Tortilla Soup

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 45 min
Ready in: 1 hour 5 min
Yields: Serves 5 people

What to buy

  • Avocados or fresh Guacamole
  • Tomato Tomatillo Salsa
  • Guiltless Gourmet Baked blue corn tortilla chips
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 onion, sliced into thin half rings
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts, cut in one-inch pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 green jalapeño pepper, diced
  • 5-7 Baby red potatoes, diced
  • 1 zuchinni, diced
  • 5 carrots, diced
  • 1 ear of fresh corn, cut off the cob
  • 2 cans Health Valley fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 can Health Valley no salt added chicken broth
  • 2-3 tablespoons Cumin
  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and chicken pieces and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add the rest of the vegetables and sauté 8-10 minutes, until slightly tender and the chicken is browned on the outside. Add the broth and cumin. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered 30-45 minutes, until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked.
  2. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each bowl with a spoonful of Fresh Guacamole or avocado chunks, a spoonful of Tomato Tomatillo Salsa, and 5-10 tortilla chips, broken up into small pieces.

Healthy Recipe

Cast your vote for Jessica's Tortilla Soup

Jessica's Tortilla Soup

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 2 cups
Calories 265
Calories from Fat54
% Daily Value *
Fat 6 g9%
Saturated fat 1 g5%
Unsaturated fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 23 g8%
Sugar 10 g
Fiber 7 g28%
Protein 30 g60%
Cholesterol 66 mg22%
Sodium 320 mg13%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Classes offered at Gelson's

Gelson's offers free hands-on floral demonstrations for customers. Expert florists inspire and teach flower lovers to create everything from brilliant centerpieces to romantic hand-tied bouquets. Contact the floral department to learn more about the next class. In December, Gelson's will be having Holiday Centerpiece design classes.


Produce Buyers

Bernie Gelson focused on produce. He wanted to provide his customers with the freshest produce possible. His Buyers go at 12:30 a.m. to inspect and test the produce before it arrives at the store.

Apples have different sugar content and all are tested for their sweetness or tartness. The buyers look for unique items to provide to customers such as Cotton Candy grapes.

Many items are picked in the afternoon, inspected at 12:30 a.m. and placed in the produce section of Gelson's that morning. That is less than 24 hours.

Cleanliness At Gelson's

Clean stores = Food Safety. Gelson's employs full time trained staff members to clean the store. It there is a spill, the box boy doesn't take a mop to clean up the mess, a porter cleans it up. Bernie insisted that each bathroom in the store must be inspected and cleaned every two hours.

The Gelson's Difference

1. You will never have to wait in long lines.

2. You never need to unload your basket, the cashier does it.

3. Clerk helpers bag groceries and are happy to help you take your cart full of bags out to your car. They are not allowed to take tips.

4. The store is filled with conventional and specialty items.

5. Unique Partnership with Wolfgang Puck. Puck contacted Gelson's to expand his brand name. No other grocery store offers freshly cooked Wolfgang pizzas and calzones.


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