Explore Palm Springs: La Plaza Opens

Sale's Plaza Market adds to lore of downtown shopping center.

Renee Brown History

La Plaza in downtown Palm Springs opened with Sale's Plaza Market, which delivered groceries to the rich and famous.

On Nov. 1, 1936, Melvin D. Sale opened Sale’s Plaza Market in the La Plaza center. At that time, he also operated Sale’s Fulton Market on North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills. Both the Plaza Market and the Fulton Market delivered groceries to the rich and famous living in both locations.

One of Sale’s customers, silent film star Ben Turpin, lived only a few blocks from his Beverly Hills store. Turpin appeared in over 80 silent films until the popularity of “talkies” forced many studios to convert to sound. Possibly because of his thick Southern accent, Turpin decided to retire from filmmaking.

Occasionally, he would play a bit part in movies with Laurel and Hardy, W. C Fields, and Jack Oakie.

Sale and Turpin became good friends and Sales invited Turpin and his wife to the grand opening of his new market in Palm Springs. Turpin inscribed his autograph on the sidewalk in front of the Indian Avenue entrance to Sale’s Market.

Most of the sidewalks around La Plaza have been replaced over the last 80 years, but a few yards of the original sidewalk with Turpin’s autograph still remains. If you are interested in seeing this little bit of Palm Springs’ past, it is located on the Indian Canyon Drive side of La Plaza right in front of Imageville.

There is a multitude of ways to Explore Palm Springs, which turned 75 in 2013. One of the more intriguing methods is by exploring Palm Springs history.

The Palm Springs Historical Society will share a weekly story whose time and place corresponds with today.

The Palm Springs Historical Society is located at 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive.
Visit for more information.

Explore Palm Springs: La Plaza Opens was last modified: November 3rd, 2016 by Renee Brown