Pavilions?

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Bagels
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Re: Pavilions?

Post by Bagels »

I always thought the initial Pavilions concept was basically VONS attempt to distinguish its modern supermarkets. Old LA Times articles mention how they would bring features -- e.g. expanded produce department, full-service deli, bakeries, meat/seafood counters, etc. -- that had been common out East for nearly 20 years, plus some extras (restaurants, cooking classes, etc.) Another LA Times article from the mid-1990s mentions that VONS ceased building "VONS Pavilions" during the horrific recession of the early 1990s, and instead focused on extensive renovations of its existing stores. I vividly remember that article -- it quoted sources that speculated more than half of VONS' locations were unprofitable, and speculated the chain would be sold as it continued to lose ground to Ralphs (which had built new stores) and Lucky (which was building new stores), given its stores were too small and the chain took on too much debt to replace them.

That said, I'm not really surprised by Pavilions' struggles. Gelson's, Bristol Farms, Whole Foods, etc. are definitely status symbols. At least Albertsons tried. I was disappointed to see that they've recently added Value Corner-branded milk to Pavilions -- really tacky IMO (previously, they'd sell Lucerne-branded milk at a slightly lower price point than Vons/Albertsons... granted, it's the same milk, but still, it's tacky).

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Re: Pavilions?

Post by storewanderer »

Bagels wrote: September 26th, 2020, 8:09 pm I always thought the initial Pavilions concept was basically VONS attempt to distinguish its modern supermarkets. Old LA Times articles mention how they would bring features -- e.g. expanded produce department, full-service deli, bakeries, meat/seafood counters, etc. -- that had been common out East for nearly 20 years, plus some extras (restaurants, cooking classes, etc.) Another LA Times article from the mid-1990s mentions that VONS ceased building "VONS Pavilions" during the horrific recession of the early 1990s, and instead focused on extensive renovations of its existing stores. I vividly remember that article -- it quoted sources that speculated more than half of VONS' locations were unprofitable, and speculated the chain would be sold as it continued to lose ground to Ralphs (which had built new stores) and Lucky (which was building new stores), given its stores were too small and the chain took on too much debt to replace them.

That said, I'm not really surprised by Pavilions' struggles. Gelson's, Bristol Farms, Whole Foods, etc. are definitely status symbols. At least Albertsons tried. I was disappointed to see that they've recently added Value Corner-branded milk to Pavilions -- really tacky IMO (previously, they'd sell Lucerne-branded milk at a slightly lower price point than Vons/Albertsons... granted, it's the same milk, but still, it's tacky).
The dairy strategy on Value Corner is interesting. In NorCal the standard Large Dozen Eggs is Value Corner. Then the Cage Free Large Dozen Eggs is Lucerne. I think this is an effort to position the standard eggs as a low end product to get more people to trade up to the cage free.

Some of the divisions don't carry any Value Corner dairy stuff (maybe the ones that don't get dairy from a company plant, like Intermountain).

Value Corner doesn't belong in Pavilions. Cheap tacky looking label. Kroger has moved past that after years of cheap tacky looking value labels (FMV, Kroger Value, P$$t) and now has the value brands with a variety of light attitude labels that some may consider tacky once they study them, but they do not stand out from 12 feet away as such.

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Re: Pavilions?

Post by Bagels »

storewanderer wrote: September 26th, 2020, 9:26 pmThe dairy strategy on Value Corner is interesting. In NorCal the standard Large Dozen Eggs is Value Corner. Then the Cage Free Large Dozen Eggs is Lucerne. I think this is an effort to position the standard eggs as a low end product to get more people to trade up to the cage free.

Some of the divisions don't carry any Value Corner dairy stuff (maybe the ones that don't get dairy from a company plant, like Intermountain).

Value Corner doesn't belong in Pavilions. Cheap tacky looking label. Kroger has moved past that after years of cheap tacky looking value labels (FMV, Kroger Value, P$$t) and now has the value brands with a variety of light attitude labels that some may consider tacky once they study them, but they do not stand out from 12 feet away as such.
In SoCal, Albertsons dropped most of the Value Corner product line-up. The only perishable product that still carries the Value Corner label is milk -- the wholesale price of eggs and butter remains surprisingly significantly higher than in NoCal, so perhaps Albertsons felt too embarrassed selling a dozen eggs for $3.99, or a pound of butter for $6.99 under the "Value Corner" brand.

But I was really surprised to see Albertsons place Value Corner-branded milk at Pavilions. First off, at most of the Pavilions near me (South Orange County), there are complimentary cloth masks available at the entrance -- the same masks (literally the same product-brand, color, etc.) are sold for about ~$3 each at Kohls (after discounts). Secondly, due to changing preferences, there is limited stock of traditional milk at most area grocery stores. Most have moved juices, yogurts, etc. to fill in space that was once occupied by milk. Thirdly, as you noted, it's just tacky. Previously, Pavilions would sell the Lucerne branded milk for $3.49/gallon -- same price as Whole Foods. Now they're following the same pricing strategy as VONS/Albertsons, with the Value Corner being sold for $3.09-$3.29, and Lucerne offered for a buck more.

But I'm amazed at how high Albertsons has hiked Pavilions pricing. The three-pack "poor boy" sandwiches that sold for $4.49 at Vons/Albertsons (and in my opinion, the best deal you can get anywhere on a sandwich -- definitely not the dog meat you get at Subway) are $6.99 at Pavilions. Bananas 89c a pound (we're not talking about organic). Signature Select 8 oz. generic potato chips for $3.50 "on sale" when they were $2 at Vons/Pavilions.

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Re: Pavilions?

Post by storewanderer »

Is that deli sandwich at Pavilions made with Boar's Head lunchmeat and at Vons made with the Primo Taglio meat maybe? Most sandwiches go up about $1 when stores switch to a Boar's Head program, 2.50 is a huge hike.

There is still Value Corner butter in NorCal too- next to the Lucerne one. Not sure what is different about it.

So if the 8 ounce Signature Chips are on sale at 3.50, what do they run the standard Lay's at? Is there still a price stamped on the bag (isn't it 4.29?). Signature Chips probably don't belong at Pavilions... not the best product.

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Re: Pavilions?

Post by Bagels »

storewanderer wrote: September 27th, 2020, 8:01 pm Is that deli sandwich at Pavilions made with Boar's Head lunchmeat and at Vons made with the Primo Taglio meat maybe? Most sandwiches go up about $1 when stores switch to a Boar's Head program, 2.50 is a huge hike.
The "poor boy" sandwich comes in a three pack for $4.49 at Albertsons/Vons, and $6.99 at Pavilions. It's the same sandwiches, just packaged differently (Albertsons/Vons puts them in a plastic bag, Pavilions uses a plastic tub). They come in generic packaging that merely reads "Poor Boy Sandwich's" -- there's no indication of what type of meat or veggies you're getting (they all vary, and sometimes it's mixed meat), let alone the brand. My guess is that the meat & cheeses are whatever is overstocked at the distribution center. Nonetheless, we've bought numerous packages of these sandwiches, and they're quite good, one of the better everyday buys for sure! Next time I'll have to check out the nutrition facts label to see how it's generated.
So if the 8 ounce Signature Chips are on sale at 3.50, what do they run the standard Lay's at? Is there still a price stamped on the bag (isn't it 4.29?). Signature Chips probably don't belong at Pavilions... not the best product.
Yup, whatever price is on the bag is the price on the shelf. In recent months, Pavilions has been increasingly deviating from the Albertsons/Vons ad, but you can still get name brand chips for $1.99 as part of the "Fab 5" promotion.
There is still Value Corner butter in NorCal too- next to the Lucerne one. Not sure what is different about it.
Just like the milk, I doubt there's any difference -- it's merely a marketing game. 99 Cents Only sold Jerseymaid eggs, butter, milk and juices until recently (sometimes one or more of these products will randomly appear). I suspect these items were made by Albertsons, but I never looked it up.

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Re: Pavilions?

Post by storewanderer »

Bagels wrote: October 3rd, 2020, 5:22 pm
The "poor boy" sandwich comes in a three pack for $4.49 at Albertsons/Vons, and $6.99 at Pavilions. It's the same sandwiches, just packaged differently (Albertsons/Vons puts them in a plastic bag, Pavilions uses a plastic tub). They come in generic packaging that merely reads "Poor Boy Sandwich's" -- there's no indication of what type of meat or veggies you're getting (they all vary, and sometimes it's mixed meat), let alone the brand. My guess is that the meat & cheeses are whatever is overstocked at the distribution center. Nonetheless, we've bought numerous packages of these sandwiches, and they're quite good, one of the better everyday buys for sure! Next time I'll have to check out the nutrition facts label to see how it's generated.

Just like the milk, I doubt there's any difference -- it's merely a marketing game. 99 Cents Only sold Jerseymaid eggs, butter, milk and juices until recently (sometimes one or more of these products will randomly appear). I suspect these items were made by Albertsons, but I never looked it up.
I wonder if the "Poor Boy" is the leftover from the sandwich bar at the end of the night. But I'm guessing not all of these stores have a sandwich bar. Albertsons used to sell "Poor Boy" sandwiches for 1.99 each but it was usually labeled what type of meat it was, those were usually on a pretty small roll, had no vegetables at all (just meat/cheese- probably American Cheese), a little fatter than a hot dog bun but shorter than a hot dog bun, and tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.

The Jerseymaid items at 99 Only were distributed by Lucerne Foods so that is a Safeway item for sure. The Nature's Cupboard Breads at 99 Only are still made by Safeway. Not real impressed with the quality of those breads. I think something is being done to them to get them a longer shelf life. 99 Only used to get its bread from the Unified Bakery (I think that closed) and the quality seemed considerably better.

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Re: Pavilions?

Post by Bagels »

storewanderer wrote: October 3rd, 2020, 5:36 pmI wonder if the "Poor Boy" is the leftover from the sandwich bar at the end of the night. But I'm guessing not all of these stores have a sandwich bar. Albertsons used to sell "Poor Boy" sandwiches for 1.99 each but it was usually labeled what type of meat it was, those were usually on a pretty small roll, had no vegetables at all (just meat/cheese- probably American Cheese), a little fatter than a hot dog bun but shorter than a hot dog bun, and tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.

The Jerseymaid items at 99 Only were distributed by Lucerne Foods so that is a Safeway item for sure. The Nature's Cupboard Breads at 99 Only are still made by Safeway. Not real impressed with the quality of those breads. I think something is being done to them to get them a longer shelf life. 99 Only used to get its bread from the Unified Bakery (I think that closed) and the quality seemed considerably better.
The "Poor Boy" sandwiches appear to come from a distribution center. They come with generic packets of mustard and mayo that say "distributed in Brea, CA" so that's my clue. They appear to be made with hot dog buns!!! I didn't know "Poor Boy" was a legacy Albertsons product. During the Supervalu years, I hardly went into their stores since quite frankly, there was no reason to.

Pavilions offers numerous Boar's Head sandwiches that quite good and quite a bargain at $5.99 -- way better than anything sold at Ralphs. Their custom sandwiches are only $6.99 and significantly better than anything I've ever had from Subway, etc. Years ago (maybe 15,16,17... holly crap am I getting old), Ralphs use to have corned beef sandwiches in their deli that they'd heat on demand. They were absolutely delicious, and one of my biggest guilty pleasures. Sad they replaced them with that garbage they sell today. Hopefully Pavilions will keep & expand on their selection!

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Re: Pavilions?

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Bagels wrote: October 3rd, 2020, 5:48 pm
The "Poor Boy" sandwiches appear to come from a distribution center. They come with generic packets of mustard and mayo that say "distributed in Brea, CA" so that's my clue. They appear to be made with hot dog buns!!! I didn't know "Poor Boy" was a legacy Albertsons product. During the Supervalu years, I hardly went into their stores since quite frankly, there was no reason to.

Pavilions offers numerous Boar's Head sandwiches that quite good and quite a bargain at $5.99 -- way better than anything sold at Ralphs. Their custom sandwiches are only $6.99 and significantly better than anything I've ever had from Subway, etc. Years ago (maybe 15,16,17... holly crap am I getting old), Ralphs use to have corned beef sandwiches in their deli that they'd heat on demand. They were absolutely delicious, and one of my biggest guilty pleasures. Sad they replaced them with that garbage they sell today. Hopefully Pavilions will keep & expand on their selection!
Albertsons had little single "Poor Boy" sandwiches even in the mid 90's, it was one of their old budget deli offerings. Way back, they were 2 for $3. Funny they made it this far. I don't recall Albertsons historically having a custom sandwich program, but always seemed to have a lot of prepack. I am guessing now they picked up the Safeway program for custom sandwiches.

Safeway always had a really good sandwich program dating back to the late 90's when they developed a Primo Taglio Sandwich program with a number of pre-determined sandwich combinations. That was before most stores had a sandwich counter, those started to show up in the late 90's new stores and remodels, but they did custom sandwiches even when there was no sandwich counter. When Safeway NorCal picked Boar's Head up they immediately went to a Boar's Head program on the sandwiches and their sandwich offering is easily the best around.

Ralphs used to have really good sandwiches but like most things lately Kroger seems to have screwed that up. QFC had a really good Boar's Head sandwich program- they still have it; last time I bought one in some Seattle suburb I got stale bread, but everything else was good... Smiths has never promoted custom sandwiches. A few times at Smiths I've asked and they will make me a sandwich, they will use the Boar's Head and are very generous, 5.49; whether or not they'll make it seems to depend on whether or not they've done production for the day's prepack sandwiches yet and still have lettuce, etc. readily available. They do have pickles and some other limited condiments available but it is nothing like Safeway. I've told a few people I know about Smiths sandwiches and they are always told Smiths does not make custom sandwiches, so I'm not sure what the deal is. They have a PLU code for it.

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Re: Pavilions?

Post by Bagels »

I stopped by the Irvine Pavilions yesterday evening. For Southern California, this is a relatively new store -- it opened in 2007 (I believe it's the last new construction Pavilions/VONS to have opened in the Greater LA area), although it very briefly operated as a Haggen in 2015. The store is located in a relatively new area within Irvine; housing is still under construction.

What a sad sight -- at 6pm, I was literally the only person shopping here. Two years ago, the deli featured multiple hot bars, cooked-to-order wok, pizza & sandwich station and upscale heat & serve entrees. Today? It's the standard "signature select" entrees found elsewhere. Surprisingly, the bakery and meat departments had a modest selection, although no where close to what it was (or what it is elsewhere, like in West Hollywood).

There's an Albertsons just over a mile from this store in the "old" section of Irvine. It began life as a Lucky in the early 1970s, although it's aged gracefully. Business wasn't much better at this location, either. I dropped in here only because I was curious if it had been renovated (it had not, it still features the tacky colorful floors).

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Re: Pavilions?

Post by storewanderer »

When I went into that Pavilions when it was still a Pavilions it was a boring standard issue Safeway Store that was having obvious volume issues; unimpressive clean and neat but lightly stocked store. This store should not have had the Pavilions banner based on how it was being operated at that point. I went into it as Haggen too and it was pretty similar, maybe meat and bakery looked a little better under Haggen, it was shortly after the grand re-opening. Light traffic both times. The items in this place looked fresh every time, but there was never much product out in the fresh departments.

A similar new build Safeway, I mean "Pavilions," was built out in Woodland Hills in what I'd call a high traffic location but higher competition location around the same time and ultimately closed.

Recall after Haggen closed that store it sat vacant for a while time, it did not shift back over to Pavilions immediately or as part of the bankruptcy transfers of leases. I was surprised Pavilions took it back and am guessing the shopping center made them a deal they couldn't refuse. As you point out there is new residential construction taking place on an ongoing basis so this is probably why they took it back.

Interesting Albertsons added all those prepared food options to the deli in a low traffic store like that. What were they thinking? There is just not enough traffic in that location to support so much prepared food. All someone needs to do is look at the traffic counts in the area to understand that.

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