Pavilions?

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rwsandiego
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Re: Pavilions?

Post by rwsandiego »

Based on what I've read and heard, Pavilions was a novel concept for Southern California when VONS created the banner. It probably made sense to create a separate banner, although I would have branded them "VONS Pavilions" much like Albertsons Market Street, Jewel Grand Bazaar, and Ralphs Fresh fare. Now that fresh bakeries, full-service floral departments, and smartly-decorated stores are fairly commonplace it seems the only difference between a Pavilions and a VONS is merchandise mix. Even that is dubious, as VONS often carries upscale merchandise in stores where the items will sell. I'd say it is time to retire Pavilions as a stand-alone banner and be done with it.

Yesterday I drove up to the Safeway in far north Scottsdale, which was remodeled into the "upscale" interior used at Pavilions. (There is a mix of pre- and post-remodel pictures on the Google maps page). It's a big, very nice store and has a the same merchandise mix as Pavilions. There's no reason VONS can't do this.

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Re: Pavilions?

Post by storewanderer »

rwsandiego wrote: September 20th, 2020, 9:04 am Based on what I've read and heard, Pavilions was a novel concept for Southern California when VONS created the banner. It probably made sense to create a separate banner, although I would have branded them "VONS Pavilions" much like Albertsons Market Street, Jewel Grand Bazaar, and Ralphs Fresh fare. Now that fresh bakeries, full-service floral departments, and smartly-decorated stores are fairly commonplace it seems the only difference between a Pavilions and a VONS is merchandise mix. Even that is dubious, as VONS often carries upscale merchandise in stores where the items will sell. I'd say it is time to retire Pavilions as a stand-alone banner and be done with it.

Yesterday I drove up to the Safeway in far north Scottsdale, which was remodeled into the "upscale" interior used at Pavilions. (There is a mix of pre- and post-remodel pictures on the Google maps page). It's a big, very nice store and has a the same merchandise mix as Pavilions. There's no reason VONS can't do this.
The thing with the original Pavilions was they had much larger than average produce departments, in-store seating to eat at which at the time was not very common, USDA Prime Beef, Boar's Head, cut melon in store, 100% scratch bakery, expanded seafood, and various other features not seen in the typical conventional grocery store.

I think back in the early 00's as Safeway was streamlining things the Pavilions format was basically rolled into Vons and what made it unique was taken away, but on the other side, you could say what made Pavilions unique was expanded beyond Pavilions to upper end neighborhood Vons, but they didn't go so far as to re-banner the entire block of stores at that point. Further, the Lifestyle store program helped bring some Vons up to a level closer to what Pavilions was back when it was unique (before Safeway).

What is interesting with Pavilions compared to the other upscale grocers is they tried to do this format, in a very large size store well over 55k square feet). And this may be part of the problem for why a number of Pavilions locations didn't work. Whereas others who try this format (Gelsons, Bristol Farms, Mollie Stones up North, etc.) do it in a much smaller format. Nugget around Sacramento's newer stores (West Sacramento, Roseville, El Dorado Hills, Elk Grove) may be the closest thing to what Pavilions could have been- an upscale format in larger size stores. But even Nugget seems to have shifted from building new large stores to buying out smaller stores.

The upscale format probably just works better with a smaller store footprint- and I would argue the customer who goes to upscale stores probably prefers a smaller footprint as well.

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Re: Pavilions?

Post by klkla »

rwsandiego wrote: September 20th, 2020, 9:04 am Based on what I've read and heard, Pavilions was a novel concept for Southern California when VONS created the banner. It probably made sense to create a separate banner, although I would have branded them "VONS Pavilions" much like Albertsons Market Street,
The prime motivation for development of the Pavilions banner was to increase profitability by eliminating the loss leader items in the Vons ad, which were usually sold at or below cost. They purposely avoided using the name on the logo.
storewanderer wrote: September 20th, 2020, 12:11 pmThe thing with the original Pavilions was they had much larger than average produce departments, in-store seating to eat at which at the time was not very common, USDA Prime Beef, Boar's Head, cut melon in store, 100% scratch bakery, expanded seafood, and various other features not seen in the typical conventional grocery store.
For the most part that statement is true, but...

The original stores had very limited in-store seating. It was just a single bar height table with about eight bar stools on each side plus a smaller attached table that was ADA compliant. The tables were installed initially only in the stores with a Panda Express module.

They did not sell USDA Prime Beef. They only offered USD Choice.

They did not have a 100% scratch bakery. The only item I remember being from scratch was the muffins. They used mixes or thaw & heat for almost everything else. The sheet cakes were simply thawed Sarah Lee brand. They did have well trained cake decorators, though.

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Re: Pavilions?

Post by buckguy »

The one in Arcadia, which I think was the second store, was either an expansion or replacement of a store in the same plaza. The layout was an odd mix of warehouse store ambience (very minimalist decor and display) mixed with upscale center store areas and expanded produce. The sit down area was small and if the bakery wasn't scratch it was much expanded from the norm with "artisan" items.

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Re: Pavilions?

Post by klkla »

buckguy wrote: September 20th, 2020, 5:06 pm The one in Arcadia, which I think was the second store, was either an expansion or replacement of a store in the same plaza. The layout was an odd mix of warehouse store ambience (very minimalist decor and display) mixed with upscale center store areas and expanded produce. The sit down area was small and if the bakery wasn't scratch it was much expanded from the norm with "artisan" items.
You could be right about it being the second store to open but I'm not sure. The store numbers for the original Pavilions were based on when development was given the green light by management and not when they opened starting with 200. Arcadia was store #208.

It was a replacement for a Pantry store that was located in the shopping center to the west of the current location. It is now a 99 Rancho Market.

This Google view lays it out pretty well:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Vons/ ... 18.0577682

steps
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Re: Pavilions?

Post by steps »

klkla wrote: September 20th, 2020, 5:27 pm
buckguy wrote: September 20th, 2020, 5:06 pm The one in Arcadia, which I think was the second store, was either an expansion or replacement of a store in the same plaza. The layout was an odd mix of warehouse store ambience (very minimalist decor and display) mixed with upscale center store areas and expanded produce. The sit down area was small and if the bakery wasn't scratch it was much expanded from the norm with "artisan" items.
You could be right about it being the second store to open but I'm not sure. The store numbers for the original Pavilions were based on when development was given the green light by management and not when they opened starting with 200. Arcadia was store #208.

It was a replacement for a Pantry store that was located in the shopping center to the west of the current location. It is now a 99 Rancho Market.

This Google view lays it out pretty well:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Vons/ ... 18.0577682
The store number mystery has been solved (at least for the Pavilions store numbers)!

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Re: Pavilions?

Post by steps »

buckguy wrote: September 20th, 2020, 5:06 pm The one in Arcadia, which I think was the second store, was either an expansion or replacement of a store in the same plaza. The layout was an odd mix of warehouse store ambience (very minimalist decor and display) mixed with upscale center store areas and expanded produce. The sit down area was small and if the bakery wasn't scratch it was much expanded from the norm with "artisan" items.
I think Westminster was 2nd. I was reading ads from Pavilions in the mid-80's a few months ago and the only stores they talked about were Garden Grove and Westminster. The ad was for the grand opening of the Westminster store.

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Re: Pavilions?

Post by storewanderer »

klkla wrote: September 20th, 2020, 4:11 pm
rwsandiego wrote: September 20th, 2020, 9:04 am Based on what I've read and heard, Pavilions was a novel concept for Southern California when VONS created the banner. It probably made sense to create a separate banner, although I would have branded them "VONS Pavilions" much like Albertsons Market Street,
The prime motivation for development of the Pavilions banner was to increase profitability by eliminating the loss leader items in the Vons ad, which were usually sold at or below cost. They purposely avoided using the name on the logo.
storewanderer wrote: September 20th, 2020, 12:11 pmThe thing with the original Pavilions was they had much larger than average produce departments, in-store seating to eat at which at the time was not very common, USDA Prime Beef, Boar's Head, cut melon in store, 100% scratch bakery, expanded seafood, and various other features not seen in the typical conventional grocery store.
For the most part that statement is true, but...

The original stores had very limited in-store seating. It was just a single bar height table with about eight bar stools on each side plus a smaller attached table that was ADA compliant. The tables were installed initially only in the stores with a Panda Express module.

They did not sell USDA Prime Beef. They only offered USD Choice.

They did not have a 100% scratch bakery. The only item I remember being from scratch was the muffins. They used mixes or thaw & heat for almost everything else. The sheet cakes were simply thawed Sarah Lee brand. They did have well trained cake decorators, though.
The old website did talk up some other scratch items in bakery. Not sure why I thought they had Prime Beef.
http://web.archive.org/web/199802161034 ... bakery.htm

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Re: Pavilions?

Post by veteran+ »

storewanderer wrote: September 20th, 2020, 12:11 pm
rwsandiego wrote: September 20th, 2020, 9:04 am Based on what I've read and heard, Pavilions was a novel concept for Southern California when VONS created the banner. It probably made sense to create a separate banner, although I would have branded them "VONS Pavilions" much like Albertsons Market Street, Jewel Grand Bazaar, and Ralphs Fresh fare. Now that fresh bakeries, full-service floral departments, and smartly-decorated stores are fairly commonplace it seems the only difference between a Pavilions and a VONS is merchandise mix. Even that is dubious, as VONS often carries upscale merchandise in stores where the items will sell. I'd say it is time to retire Pavilions as a stand-alone banner and be done with it.

Yesterday I drove up to the Safeway in far north Scottsdale, which was remodeled into the "upscale" interior used at Pavilions. (There is a mix of pre- and post-remodel pictures on the Google maps page). It's a big, very nice store and has a the same merchandise mix as Pavilions. There's no reason VONS can't do this.
The thing with the original Pavilions was they had much larger than average produce departments, in-store seating to eat at which at the time was not very common, USDA Prime Beef, Boar's Head, cut melon in store, 100% scratch bakery, expanded seafood, and various other features not seen in the typical conventional grocery store.

I think back in the early 00's as Safeway was streamlining things the Pavilions format was basically rolled into Vons and what made it unique was taken away, but on the other side, you could say what made Pavilions unique was expanded beyond Pavilions to upper end neighborhood Vons, but they didn't go so far as to re-banner the entire block of stores at that point. Further, the Lifestyle store program helped bring some Vons up to a level closer to what Pavilions was back when it was unique (before Safeway).

What is interesting with Pavilions compared to the other upscale grocers is they tried to do this format, in a very large size store well over 55k square feet). And this may be part of the problem for why a number of Pavilions locations didn't work. Whereas others who try this format (Gelsons, Bristol Farms, Mollie Stones up North, etc.) do it in a much smaller format. Nugget around Sacramento's newer stores (West Sacramento, Roseville, El Dorado Hills, Elk Grove) may be the closest thing to what Pavilions could have been- an upscale format in larger size stores. But even Nugget seems to have shifted from building new large stores to buying out smaller stores.

The upscale format probably just works better with a smaller store footprint- and I would argue the customer who goes to upscale stores probably prefers a smaller footprint as well.
ALSO.............Pavilions had MORE payroll to work with, delivering noticeably higher levels of customer service. THAT was taken away!!

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Re: Pavilions?

Post by klkla »

veteran+ wrote: September 21st, 2020, 6:15 am ALSO.............Pavilions had MORE payroll to work with, delivering noticeably higher levels of customer service. THAT was taken away!!
Definitely. When I was at Pavilions in the valley we were budgeted around 6.5% of sales for payroll while another Vons nearby doing the same volume was budgeted 4.9%. It made a big difference.

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