Pavilions history

Uh...California.

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Steve Landry
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Pavilions history

Post by Steve Landry » 18 Nov 2006 12:20

Question for our Pavillions expert :)

I have been recently informed that Pavillions was borne of an earlier chain called Pantry Supermarkets? (or Pantry ...... something). This would be pre-Vons purchase. Timeline..... late 1960's or early 1970's?

If so, interesting, because the number of stores involved and some of the locations could have been former Food Fair Fox Markets. Also, because the use of the name Pantry "......." would have mirrored Food Fair's use of the name on the east coast during about the same time.

Remember, Food Fair inherited the name Pantry Pride as a private lable line from a chain of supermarkets they bought called Best Markets.

Any thoughts???
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Post by runchadrun » 18 Nov 2006 13:50

I think the timing is coincidental.

Vons acquired the 10-store Pantry chain from Dallas-based Cullum Cos. in May, 1986. This was about the same time the first Pavilions store opened. I know that the Arcadia Pantry store closed since it was next door to a Pavilions but that's probably the only connection between Pantry and Pavilions.

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Post by javelin » 19 Nov 2006 03:19

IIRC, the first Pavillions was opened in a former Zody's in Garden Grove. I had been to that store many times as a kid. That area was becoming very upscale at the time, and Vons created the idea to bring in shoppers with higher incomes (definitely not my family at that time). Maybe it has something to do with now parent company Safeway's International stores, predating pavillions by some 20 or so years.

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Post by TheStranger » 19 Nov 2006 03:43

javelin wrote:Maybe it has something to do with now parent company Safeway's International stores, predating pavillions by some 20 or so years.
Wasn't Pavillions created though before Safeway got its ownership stake (in the midst of selling its SoCal divisions to Vons)?

As for the International concept...I do wonder if it was the original "prestige" style of the Marina (with some of the odder items that place stocked at the start) that influenced it, judging from how that store was portrayed around its opening.
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Post by Dave » 19 Nov 2006 08:10

TheStranger wrote:
javelin wrote:Maybe it has something to do with now parent company Safeway's International stores, predating pavillions by some 20 or so years.
Wasn't Pavillions created though before Safeway got its ownership stake (in the midst of selling its SoCal divisions to Vons)?

As for the International concept...I do wonder if it was the original "prestige" style of the Marina (with some of the odder items that place stocked at the start) that influenced it, judging from how that store was portrayed around its opening.
This is getting off the subject of Pavillions, but in the original thread I began on Safeway International, I asked how many Safeway International stores there actually were.

So far, all that anyone's been able to say are two locations - F Street in DC and West Cary Street in Richmond. With two locations, it doesn't seem to have been a trend or exactly a widespread concept.

As far as what a Safeway International stocked as opposed to the original Marina, the International store did stock a lot of the oddball stuff, but most of the same "gourmet" items can now be bought at my local Kroger or Ukrop's, except for Vegemite (which is now banned in the United States). The chocolate-covered critters were there, but they had been sold at Thalhimers department store food department for a long time before the Safeway International came on the scene.

I'd still love to know more about the International concept. I was a regular shopper there for quite some time.

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Post by runchadrun » 19 Nov 2006 10:41

TheStranger wrote:Wasn't Pavillions created though before Safeway got its ownership stake (in the midst of selling its SoCal divisions to Vons)?
Yes.

As has been mentioned before, once Vons took over the Socal stores some Safeway stores near (or next to) Vons were converted to Pavilions and some of the smaller Safeways were converted to Pavilions Place.

A few years later but before the total Safeway takeover, Pavilions introduced its line of gourmet "Pavilions Select" products that were the same as Safeway Select, even the logo was identical except for the name and no Safeway logo.

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Post by rich » 19 Nov 2006 11:16

Pavillions #2 was in Arcadia (and is still open, though it was remodeled a few years ago). It was a large exsiting Vons with a semi-upscale clientele (Arcadia has a mix of middle to uppermiddle income areas) and probably was seen as a good candidate for the original upscale meets warehouse-ish format.

The SoCal natives would remember better, but that was na era where Vons seemed to be rolling out "niche" prototypes, including their stores with under the Tiaungis (?sp) which targeted Hispanic customers.

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Post by TheStranger » 19 Nov 2006 16:05

Dave wrote:This is getting off the subject of Pavillions, but in the original thread I began on Safeway International, I asked how many Safeway International stores there actually were.

So far, all that anyone's been able to say are two locations - F Street in DC and West Cary Street in Richmond. With two locations, it doesn't seem to have been a trend or exactly a widespread concept.
I'm thinking that International was a concept created by the DC/East divsion, and not necessarily the entire chain, though the 1965 CSA article does point out that the Marina store planned to use some of the ideas of the International project...
Dave wrote:
As far as what a Safeway International stocked as opposed to the original Marina, the International store did stock a lot of the oddball stuff, but most of the same "gourmet" items can now be bought at my local Kroger or Ukrop's, except for Vegemite (which is now banned in the United States).
I didn't know Vegemite had been banned...actually this Wikipedia article sheds more light on the situation (which isn't all that clear):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegemite#History

Going back to the original topic, I do wonder: we see how SWY International was a market for then-exotic products...could the same be said of Pavillions when it was first founded by Vons? How does it compare to other "upscale" chains?
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Post by javelin » 19 Nov 2006 16:48

rich wrote:The SoCal natives would remember better, but that was na era where Vons seemed to be rolling out "niche" prototypes, including their stores with under the Tiaungis (?sp) which targeted Hispanic customers.
Expo...the Vons for poor people.

Safeway exchanged its stores in So Cal for a part ownership in Vons with a right to exercise buying the company. Even before that happened in 1997, Vons seemed to be trying hard to assimilate itself into Safeway. Now the stores have very little Vons signage left.

So before 1988, the two had no business relationship, but the International concept, too far ahead of its time, was probably considered by those at Vons who organized the Pavilions stores. Just wondering if anyone on the board of directors at the time were former Safeway execs?

I don't recall anything in So Cal with quite the extent of items as a Pavilions before 1986.

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Post by Dave » 19 Nov 2006 19:34

TheStranger wrote:
Dave wrote:This is getting off the subject of Pavillions, but in the original thread I began on Safeway International, I asked how many Safeway International stores there actually were.

So far, all that anyone's been able to say are two locations - F Street in DC and West Cary Street in Richmond. With two locations, it doesn't seem to have been a trend or exactly a widespread concept.
I'm thinking that International was a concept created by the DC/East divsion, and not necessarily the entire chain, though the 1965 CSA article does point out that the Marina store planned to use some of the ideas of the International project...
You've got to give Safeway points for consistency, if anything. They were saying that they were going to do more with the International idea for over 20 years, but I don't think they ever did.

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Post by TheStranger » 19 Nov 2006 20:16

Dave wrote:You've got to give Safeway points for consistency, if anything. They were saying that they were going to do more with the International idea for over 20 years, but I don't think they ever did.
This begs a good question: is Pavillions (which wasn't created by Safeway) the primary influence behind the "lifestyle" project of today, or previous initiatives like the original Marina store and International?
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Post by klkla » 20 Nov 2006 01:25

rich wrote:The SoCal natives would remember better, but that was na era where Vons seemed to be rolling out "niche" prototypes, including their stores with under the Tiaungis (?sp) which targeted Hispanic customers.
In the late 80's Vons was already number one in market share (even before buying Safeway's Southern California stores) and felt that the Vons format would limit them for future growth so they decided to offer four formats:

Vons (conventional supermarkets in middle income areas)
Pavilions (upscale superstores in affluent areas)
Expo (warehouse superstores with low prices in lower income areas)
Tianguis (hispanic superstores in neighborhoods with large first and second generation hispanic populations)

The Safeway opportunity came just as they started rolling out these formats (explaining Pavilions Place in smaller stores located in affluent neighborhoods).

Initially the Pavilions and Tianguis formats were very successful. Tianguis faltered after Vons had Cesar Chavez arrested at one of the locations and went out of business soon after as a result of the bad publicity in the hispanic community. The Expo format was never a success.

Very early on Pavilions was such a huge success they felt they could open them anywhere and had some big flops (Baldwin Park, Chino, and Upland come to mind). After they came to their senses and realized the format would only work in affluent areas it became very successful and provided most of Vons profits in the last years they were independent before Safeway took over. Safeway ignored the concept for many years and is only now beginning to remodel the stores (although they don't differ much from regular lifestyle prototypes).

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Post by klkla » 20 Nov 2006 01:33

TheStranger wrote:This begs a good question: is Pavillions (which wasn't created by Safeway) the primary influence behind the "lifestyle" project of today, or previous initiatives like the original Marina store and International?
I'm sure the Pavilions stores must have provided some inspiration but the fact is Safeway has some of the most valuable real estate in the supermarket industry (if not THE most valuable). They have more stores in affluent areas than any other chain. As WalMart started expanding into the supermarket industry Safeway realized they need to find a way to "get out of their way" and not get crushed by their lower operating costs and much lower prices. Taking into account the great neighborhoods where a lot of their stores are located they decided to differentiate themselves from WalMart by moving upscale, hence the lifestyle format. I think Safeway will successfully convert their image to a sort of 'Nordstrom' of supermarkets and eventually abandon lower income areas altogether in the coming years and let WalMart have that business. It's not likely WalMart will be able to successfully operate upscale stores because their image as a discounter is too firmly planted in consumers minds (by choice).

So I guess you could say WalMart had more to do with the creation of the lifestyle format than Pavilions, marina stores, or International.

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Post by Jeff » 20 Nov 2006 02:02

Pavillions in Baldwin Park was a horrible mistake. A high-end market in a low-class city. It only lasted a couple years before they turned it into a Vons. I stopped by once when it was a Vons. Very bland inside, no style, just like an 80's Vons store. This location was closed then demolished for a home depot.

Pavillions in Upland remarkably lasted a long time. It closed a couple years ago.

I dont remember Pavillions in Chino. I know there was an Expo store that turned into a Vons later down the line.

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Post by runchadrun » 20 Nov 2006 10:51

Jeff wrote:I dont remember Pavillions in Chino.
That was the former Gemco/Pavilions/Vons/Pak n Save off of Central just south of the 60.

Before the total takever of Vons by SWY they introduced the Pavilions Select line of gourmet products, which was the same as Safeway Select but with a different name (and no Circle S) in the logo.

I figured that Safeway had given up on the Pavilions format since the newer Vons had most of the same amenities: gourmet deli, pharmacy, Panda Express, etc, but I guess they didn't because they just opened a new store in Valencia a few years ago on Magic Mountain Pkwy not too far away from a big Vons on The Old Road.

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