Pavilions?

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storewanderer
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Re: Pavilions?

Post by storewanderer »

Bluelightspecial wrote: September 7th, 2020, 1:50 am
I'm not sure how you can call Vons stores "trash" based on two remote stores and also say "at this point most of what is left of Albertsons in SoCal is pretty nice stores". Both are in the same division and I'm guessing run by the same people. Having been in both one of the Ridgecrest and Taft Albertsons stores recently and I can tell you they were far from "pretty nice"
I've been to lots of Vons throughout SoCal as well as Las Vegas. I've come across more than a few small, lousy, stores that may have lifestyle interiors but are generally in poor condition and have lousy execution and are poorly staffed. Generaly speaking Vons Stores just come across as boring and bland- nothing inspiring about them at all. They don't do anything particularly well. They are simply a lousy chain.

I think Vons knew what it was doing (before Safeway bought it out) and that was why they came up with Pavilions in the first place. There was no "wow" factor to the standard Vons operation, it was a boring and bland operation with very basic stores. Then Safeway comes in, basically dilutes Pavilions into a standard Safeway in the early 00's, then tries to bring it slightly more upscale again in the Lifestyle program, but doesn't get it even close to back to the level it had been at in the mid 90's. Then, Safeway starts to make random Vons Stores into the more "upscale" Lifestyle format with questionable execution, plus you can only do so much to a 40 year old 35k square foot store.

Back to Vons I've been to, which are many, I can cite many examples that stand out as trash operations. For instance, north of Disney in Anaheim, that store is a complete dump despite its lifestyle interior. There is another one south of Disney in Anaheim which is even more of a dump (it has the cheap Lifestyle interior with hanging signs, not even wall lettering). They did manage to close most of the lousy ones around Fresno but they had some real winners around there (you can imagine how bad they were, for Save Mart to put them out of business...). The two near the strip in Las Vegas are also absolutely terrible stores for one reason or another (though the larger non-lifestyle one on Twain, once you get past the not so safe feeling parking lot, is nicer inside than the smaller lifestyle one nearby). Sure, there are some nice Vons out there. For instance one time I went into the La Jolla Vons which was actually quite nice and in good shape with its perimeter execution. I crossed the freeway somewhere around there and ended up at some other Vons which was a smaller older store but looked like a pretty good neighborhood. The whole place smelled like a bathroom or rotten eggs, I don't know how anyone was even shopping in the place, the store looked fine, but the odor... Also that lousy Vons in Sun City- is that thing still open? How about the Santa Maria Vons (the one that is still open... both they had there were quite lousy but Safeway kept the lousier one open). I know they managed to get rid of the dumpy Vons in Lakeside and pawned Los Osos off on Haggen so they have managed to get rid of some crummy stores.

I am sure these stores make money though...

Never been to Taft- but store doesn't look great in photos. Not really any worse looking in photos than a Vons; same typical problems; tiles coming up on the floors, generally dated atmosphere, etc. Where are the other stores left that are in a similar condition to the older smaller Albertsons in Ridgecrest in SoCal Division? The larger Ridgecrest Albertsons is in fine condition (certainly no worse than a typical Lifestyle Vons). Recall the Vons in Ridgecrest went out of business a few years ago. Would not surprise me if the 2 stores in Ridgecrest have the same regional/district management as Bishop and Mammoth Lakes so that may also explain why you were not very impressed with what you saw.
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Re: Pavilions?

Post by klkla »

As far as the Anaheim Hills store goes, there must be some sort of demographic change happening in that area that no longer makes it viable as a Pavilions. That's what happened in Arcadia and Monrovia.

As for the Sherman Oaks store I would be very surprised if it did not open as a Pavilions. If that was to happen it would be a sure sign they are no longer committed to the brand because the demographic profile of that area has not changed and is able to currently support a Whole Foods, Ralphs and Gelson's in addition to Pavilions. As mentioned in another post they have had the Pavilions signage already installed on the building for a couple months.

On a personal note, when I was in the Vons management training program I was assigned a stint in the store development department and got to work on the team that prepared the viability report for the Anaheim Hills store. It was the most interesting assignment I ever had in retail and I would loved to have been able to be a permanent employee in that department. There's a lot that goes into the process and the report was hundreds of pages. The store almost didn't get built because Vons had had bad parking lot-related experiences with malls that had movie theaters and large gyms in them. A deal was finally reached to have the movie theater and gym built behind the main shopping center with their own dedicated parking and the project moved forward.
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Re: Pavilions?

Post by storewanderer »

klkla wrote: September 7th, 2020, 12:28 pm As for the Sherman Oaks store I would be very surprised if it did not open as a Pavilions.
I was expecting that to be a flagship store for the SoCal Division... would assume they have been working on the interior already... and it is being done in the Pavilions interior...
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Re: Pavilions?

Post by klkla »

storewanderer wrote: September 7th, 2020, 12:32 pm
klkla wrote: September 7th, 2020, 12:28 pm As for the Sherman Oaks store I would be very surprised if it did not open as a Pavilions.
I was expecting that to be a flagship store for the SoCal Division... would assume they have been working on the interior already... and it is being done in the Pavilions interior...
From the street it looked like it was already finished although I cannot be sure. I assumed they were waiting to see what happened with the riots and Covid.
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Re: Pavilions?

Post by storewanderer »

klkla wrote: September 7th, 2020, 4:42 pm
From the street it looked like it was already finished although I cannot be sure. I assumed they were waiting to see what happened with the riots and Covid.
They just opened that new Safeway in Washington DC they are deeming a flagship store... I think there have been riots, etc. there as well.
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Re: Pavilions?

Post by buckguy »

No "riots" in Capitol Hill---it's not a major business area. Actually, we have demonstrations several times a week w/o anything happening--I've often seen the groups parading down to the Lafayette Square area near the White House. The damage in at the end of May was scattered and didn't amount to much outside of City Center, the upscale complex developed by one of the Gulf State sovereign funds, which soldiers on. What I saw on cable news was, as usual, pretty exaggerated.
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Re: Pavilions?

Post by veteran+ »

I think it is a mixed bag for both Vons/Pavilions and Ralphs/Fresh Fare depending on the area.

I have worked for both at the lower and higher levels.

San Diego Vons in North Park is quite the store. Great merchandising and not so bad service. Prices still too high. The Ralphs Fresh Fare in Hillcrest was superb in all ways but is in a decline especially in customer service. It is hit and miss throughout San Diego. The Mission Valley stores (both) seem to be consistently okay to very good. Not very impressed with the few Albertsons I see. When you go towards Chula Vista and south both chains begin to get worse.

Hollywood stores for both companies are deteriorating quickly. Pavilions in West Hollywood is the nicer in the bunch but it has lost its shine in all ways. Ralphs Fresh Fare is a joke. Rock n Roll Ralphs is becoming un-shoppable.

Coachella Valley (Palm Springs area) is hit and miss as well depending on area. The more ethnic the area the less desirable the store in all ways, even after a remodel. Most of the tired looking stores in the more affluent areas have been closed or remodeled. Not impressed with the customer service.

I believe more and more that these traditional chains are listening less and less to their customers. The interactions I have had with store level managers revealed a huge void of customer service skills and perhaps a disappeared training program. Corporate customer service is deaf and manned by the MOST unprofessional and poorly spoken and attitude ridden folks I have ever encountered.

Not listening to customers (IMO) is what is allowing the continuing parade of incompetent Execs to manage. Their ineffective decisions are proof positive they do not listen to their customers. Their decisions are about shareholder profits and executive compensation and the quickest path to THAT. Every time they take over another chain, they destroy the BEST attributes of that chain.

I believe that they are morphing into Walmarts, which you all know I categorically detest and would rather starve before I step one foot into.
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Re: Pavilions?

Post by storewanderer »

veteran+ wrote: September 8th, 2020, 7:06 am I believe more and more that these traditional chains are listening less and less to their customers. The interactions I have had with store level managers revealed a huge void of customer service skills and perhaps a disappeared training program. Corporate customer service is deaf and manned by the MOST unprofessional and poorly spoken and attitude ridden folks I have ever encountered.

Not listening to customers (IMO) is what is allowing the continuing parade of incompetent Execs to manage. Their ineffective decisions are proof positive they do not listen to their customers. Their decisions are about shareholder profits and executive compensation and the quickest path to THAT. Every time they take over another chain, they destroy the BEST attributes of that chain.

I believe that they are morphing into Walmarts, which you all know I categorically detest and would rather starve before I step one foot into.
Yes, this is what I see happening. These large grocers do not want to pay starting employees enough and the result is a labor model that is similar to that of Wal Mart, Target, etc. Where it gets a little more interesting is within a store where you have a department that is staffed with the older experienced employees (meat department seems to be a good example of this often) who seem to actually care what is going on, then deal with another department in the very same store with complete indifference and poorly trained employees (deli and front end seem to be the best two examples of this).


I remember 15-20 years ago when you went into Safeway in the evening there was always an assistant manager or "head clerk" on duty. This individual was identifiable as they wore a white shirt, black pants, and tie. They were generally professional and actively managing the operation stocking, handling overrides, being a back up cashier, helping customers in perimeter departments that had closed for the night (bakery, produce, etc.), monitoring the work of the courtesy clerk(s), etc. This was usually someone who was looking to work hard and get promoted. Now Safeway at least in NV runs after what seems to be 5 PM with what they call a "person in charge." I think that person gets not much more than a regular clerk as far as pay goes. Manager and assistant manager are gone by 5 PM. Forget about any help in closed perimeter departments after hours. You cannot distinguish this "person in charge" individual from any other employee including a courtesy clerk, I have no clue who they even are, but have been told they exist. The "override card" is typically sitting somewhere up front for the cashiers to pass around without having to bother the "person in charge" and service is simply down the drain. Courtesy clerks and other employees are not monitored and frequently stand around talking or messing with their phones, either inside or outside. Just overall amazing to me how things have declined. But these stores are getting the labor that they pay for. I call out Safeway because in the late 90's/to about 2005 they were by far the best run stores. Now their operation up here in NV is just awful.
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Re: Pavilions?

Post by steps »

storewanderer wrote: September 8th, 2020, 9:56 pmI call out Safeway because in the late 90's/to about 2005 they were by far the best run stores. Now their operation up here in NV is just awful.
I can attest to this. When I worked at Pavilions in Weho in the early 2000's, service was considered "world class" by corporate. We we literally had service classes every few weeks or so to make sure we kept that "world class" service.

We were required to help customers even out of our departments. Service deli at my store was busy from open to close, I can't tell you how many times we would have to make salads, fried and baked chicken throughout the day, it was exhausting.

The only good service I get now at Vons or a Pavilions is by new employees that are happy to have a job. The older employees really could care less. Even at some low volume stores I worked at, we still kept the service top notch.

As much as employees hated Safeway taking over Vons, I wish we could go back to those days, we had a level of service not seen today.
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Re: Pavilions?

Post by CalItalian »

storewanderer wrote: September 6th, 2020, 10:48 am Did they do a store remodel or something in conjunction with the banner change?

As more and more old grocery people in upper management have been retiring or leaving Albertsons and being replaced by people who may have food industry background but not grocery retail background, I think we are seeing some interesting decisions being made and we will see how things play out.

With that said, I think Vons is a trash operation based on my multiple experiences with that Mammoth Lakes Store and the absolutely terrible Bishop Store, and the name Vons should be downplayed as much as possible. If they want to run a seriously good store with a large perimeter and strong execution they should use the Pavilions name, if they can actually execute properly which I have doubts of. If they want to run a clean, large, strong center store mix medium volume basic store they should probably use the Albertsons banner; they seem to be able to run that banner okay on the central coast and around San Diego... They can save the Vons banner for smaller, run down, outdated stores which is what the most productive Vons Stores are- captive audience locatons that will tolerate long lines, high prices, and a dirty outdated store. At least the company was smart enough to take Las Vegas away from Vons and give it to Southwest to run and took Fresno away from Vons and gave it to NorCal to run (not sure if Fresno was a gift or a last ditch effort to save a long failing market)- pretty bad when a division gets markets taken away from it like that; speaks volumes as to the situation there.
Vons and Albertsons are outpacing Ralphs in sales gains in SoCal. I have no idea what you're talking about "trash". Vons/Albertsons has been much more aggressive on sales during the coronavirus than Kroger's Ralphs. Kroger has lost its way with so many idiotic ideas from recently backing off aggressive sales, delivery/pickup options different from store to store location that are so confusing to their scan, bag, go initiative that was a complete failure. Most anything Kroger introduces into Ralphs is a complete failure while Albertsons/Vons have been focused on retaining new and infrequent customers...and it's working.
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