Smart & Final Corona Del Mar Closed

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Smart & Final Corona Del Mar Closed

Post by Bagels »

Wow, I'm surprised I missed this, but the Smart & Final in Corona Del Mar permanently closed in January. Apparently the owner recruited CVS and Mother's Market as replacement tenants, but Mother's Market has since pulled out.

https://stunewsnewport.com/index.php/2- ... ary-101320

This blog has pictures of the store from when it first opened as All American Market in 1948, as well as its first year as an Albertsons in 1966. It became a Haggen in 2015 and Smart & Final shortly thereafter.

https://thesherman.org/2020/08/05/super ... ort-beach/
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Re: Smart & Final Corona Del Mar Closed

Post by retailfanmitchell019 »

This was one of the nicest Albertsons in the entire chain, and probably the longest continuously operating Albertsons this side of Boise. This store had the "Wegmans Wannabe" decor.
ACI should buy it back and convert it to the Albertsons name. I hope Amazon doesn't pounce on it.
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Re: Smart & Final Corona Del Mar Closed

Post by storewanderer »

The bigger surprise is Smart & Final took that location in the first place. What were they thinking exactly?

The articles you post note CVS is taking 13,000 square feet of the store. I don't think there is enough space left for Albertsons to reopen.

I went to my local Smart & Final over the weekend for the first time this year and frankly I don't know why anyone shops there or how they survive as a chain. Pricing is high throughout the very low end store, service levels are terrible (one checkstand open on a Sunday afternoon), produce is full but high priced and has rotation issues. Store is a cluttered mess. Private label program isn't great. Reminds me of a higher priced lower quality bad copy of Kroger Food 4 Less (to be expected given the management I guess).

Also they pulled out the NCR point of sale software and installed some weird software. It appears to work, but it doubles the length of the receipt printing many unnecessary lines and skipping spaces all over when not necessary. I guess they like to buy receipt paper.

Amazing to me they have as many stores as they have. I guess some people like shopping there but it isn't for me.
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Re: Smart & Final Corona Del Mar Closed

Post by arizonaguy »

storewanderer wrote: April 6th, 2021, 5:23 pm The bigger surprise is Smart & Final took that location in the first place. What were they thinking exactly?

The articles you post note CVS is taking 13,000 square feet of the store. I don't think there is enough space left for Albertsons to reopen.

I went to my local Smart & Final over the weekend for the first time this year and frankly I don't know why anyone shops there or how they survive as a chain. Pricing is high throughout the very low end store, service levels are terrible (one checkstand open on a Sunday afternoon), produce is full but high priced and has rotation issues. Store is a cluttered mess. Private label program isn't great. Reminds me of a higher priced lower quality bad copy of Kroger Food 4 Less (to be expected given the management I guess).

Also they pulled out the NCR point of sale software and installed some weird software. It appears to work, but it doubles the length of the receipt printing many unnecessary lines and skipping spaces all over when not necessary. I guess they like to buy receipt paper.

Amazing to me they have as many stores as they have. I guess some people like shopping there but it isn't for me.
I have one about 5 minutes from my house but I just don't understand the appeal.

I have a Costco and Sam's Club membership and if I want to buy in bulk I go to one of those 2 stores.

I also have a multiple Fry's, multiple Safeways, a Sprout's, a Winco, a Bashas', a Walmart, a SuperTarget, and soon will have an Aldi within 10 minutes of my house. Smart and Final doesn't have any noticeable advantage over ANY of the aforementioned other options. Also, around here (Arizona) they seem to be located in less desirable parts of town but aren't a hard discounter so their pricing seems to be higher than Walmart/Winco/Fry's for stores in similar neighborhoods.
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Re: Smart & Final Corona Del Mar Closed

Post by klkla »

This store is only about 17,000 sq ft IIRC. The area has good demographics. Parking is a big issue though.
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Re: Smart & Final Corona Del Mar Closed

Post by HCal »

storewanderer wrote: April 6th, 2021, 5:23 pm The bigger surprise is Smart & Final took that location in the first place. What were they thinking exactly?

The articles you post note CVS is taking 13,000 square feet of the store. I don't think there is enough space left for Albertsons to reopen.

I went to my local Smart & Final over the weekend for the first time this year and frankly I don't know why anyone shops there or how they survive as a chain. Pricing is high throughout the very low end store, service levels are terrible (one checkstand open on a Sunday afternoon), produce is full but high priced and has rotation issues. Store is a cluttered mess. Private label program isn't great. Reminds me of a higher priced lower quality bad copy of Kroger Food 4 Less (to be expected given the management I guess).

Also they pulled out the NCR point of sale software and installed some weird software. It appears to work, but it doubles the length of the receipt printing many unnecessary lines and skipping spaces all over when not necessary. I guess they like to buy receipt paper.

Amazing to me they have as many stores as they have. I guess some people like shopping there but it isn't for me.
Smart & Final is geared toward small business owners. In my area, you can see First Street and Simply Value products at many food trucks, taco stands, etc. Many janitors get their supplies from there as well. I don't think they are really focused on the consumer market.

Since I don't have a Costco or Sam's membership (not worth it when I live alone) I go there on occasion if I need something in bulk for an event or whatever. Otherwise, I shop there when they run a 10% off everything coupon in the circular, which happens a few times a year usually before holidays.
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Re: Smart & Final Corona Del Mar Closed

Post by storewanderer »

HCal wrote: April 8th, 2021, 7:40 pm
Smart & Final is geared toward small business owners. In my area, you can see First Street and Simply Value products at many food trucks, taco stands, etc. Many janitors get their supplies from there as well. I don't think they are really focused on the consumer market.

Since I don't have a Costco or Sam's membership (not worth it when I live alone) I go there on occasion if I need something in bulk for an event or whatever. Otherwise, I shop there when they run a 10% off everything coupon in the circular, which happens a few times a year usually before holidays.
Not sure what those small business owners are thinking- Smart & Final's pricing is awful. Aside from things like foam cups they have a whole aisle of their food mix doesn't seem to be geared to small business owners at all anymore like it once was. The food aisles look straight out of Food 4 Less. I know there are still some big cans sitting around and they run some case discounts but for the most part it seems like they have significantly modified their food mix to appeal to consumers.

On those foam packages etc. the prices at Smart & Final (including the case pricing) is about 30% higher than Smart Foodservice/US Foods ChefStore and it has been that way for years now. Same First Street items.

The old Smart Foodservice format now US Foods ChefStore was certainly geared to small business owners. It reminded me of the "old" Smart & Final before they converted most stores to "Extra" format.

Are the stores still running the Smart & Final banner (not "Extra") not selling many consumer sized food products and generally just the large size stuff still?
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Re: Smart & Final Corona Del Mar Closed

Post by HCal »

Their pricing is awful compared to what? They definitely aren't as cheap as Aldi or Winco, but I would say cheaper than most supermarkets on bulk items. Their smaller size items are usually at normal supermarket (think Albertsons or Ralphs) pricing.

I haven't been in a non-Extra Smart and Final in years, but the last time I was in one, the only difference I noticed was the lack of a produce section. I think that format is being phased out.

I never got to visit a Smart Foodservice, but I plan to check out ChefStore when I get a chance.
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Re: Smart & Final Corona Del Mar Closed

Post by Romr123 »

The one in Palm Springs seems very comparable to me to Gordon Food Services' stores in the midwest/Florida...good place to go if you are entertaining and need chafer trays and bulk stuff; if you've got a food truck/church kitchen and need a one stop for big-sized, for instance, chili makings and don't want to fuss with Costco/Sams. Seems to fill a niche to me below Restaurant Depot and above Aldi (which is probably cheaper if you're, for instance, gathering stuff for food baskets)
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Re: Smart & Final Corona Del Mar Closed

Post by Bagels »

storewanderer wrote: April 8th, 2021, 7:56 pm
HCal wrote: April 8th, 2021, 7:40 pm
Smart & Final is geared toward small business owners. In my area, you can see First Street and Simply Value products at many food trucks, taco stands, etc. Many janitors get their supplies from there as well. I don't think they are really focused on the consumer market.

Since I don't have a Costco or Sam's membership (not worth it when I live alone) I go there on occasion if I need something in bulk for an event or whatever. Otherwise, I shop there when they run a 10% off everything coupon in the circular, which happens a few times a year usually before holidays.
Not sure what those small business owners are thinking- Smart & Final's pricing is awful. Aside from things like foam cups they have a whole aisle of their food mix doesn't seem to be geared to small business owners at all anymore like it once was. The food aisles look straight out of Food 4 Less. I know there are still some big cans sitting around and they run some case discounts but for the most part it seems like they have significantly modified their food mix to appeal to consumers.

On those foam packages etc. the prices at Smart & Final (including the case pricing) is about 30% higher than Smart Foodservice/US Foods ChefStore and it has been that way for years now. Same First Street items.

The old Smart Foodservice format now US Foods ChefStore was certainly geared to small business owners. It reminded me of the "old" Smart & Final before they converted most stores to "Extra" format.

Are the stores still running the Smart & Final banner (not "Extra") not selling many consumer sized food products and generally just the large size stuff still?
I haven't been in a S&F since late 2019/early 2020, when I stopped in the Corona Del Mar location, so things may have changed, but their pricing on bulk, generic meat & produce was unbeatable. Bananas and carrots for 29c/lb., potatoes for 5c/lb., medium green bell peppers for about 15c each, etc. We're not talking about "Costco" bulk, where you purchase 4-6 green bell peppers -- we're talking about a whole box of about 75 or more. I concur with the observation that S&F seems to be the market leader in SoCal among small businesses (food trucks/sands, local restaurants, etc.) In the past, I've noticed that some franchised restaurants -- including Subways, Domino's, etc. -- were using some First Street products, so presumably some of their meat and/or produce was being purchased from S&F as well, which likely indicates they're getting better pricing from S&F,

I do agree that S&F's overall business strategy, to shift focus from primarily B2B to B2C, has largely failed. IMO, it's largely perception -- they offered full-service grocery stores (many of which were expanded, replaced or ex-Albertsons/Vons and featured full-service bakeries, meat and/or delis) with higher-quality perishables and pricing that beat Ralphs/Albertsons/Vons. They even ran sales with deep loss leaders. But the public never caught on. They should've advertised their change more heavily. Eventually, they focused on opening stores in areas where Ralphs and Albertsons had abandoned -- but specialized ethic grocers that better cater to those communities are abundant, and thus many of these stores quickly closed.

Since S&F was sold to a private equity firm, its prices have noticeably climbed, while the quality of its produce has diminished. Ultimately, I agree that unless a location is convenient, there's no reason to shop here.
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