Vons has been a staple at 868 Orange Avenue for decades, and recently the store began a long-planned expansion into the former Coramart lot next door. I spoke with Scott Thompson, manager of the Coronado Vons, who was brought in earlier this year for his experience managing other Vons locations while undergoing similar remodels.
“I’ve worked at the company for 36 years and had been hearing about this project for some 20 years. It’s just one of those things that was decided, ‘Hey, we have to do it,’” Thompson said. “[This expansion] has been a long time coming and we’re glad to see it happening now.”
According to Thompson, the remodel is planned to happen in two stages, beginning with the expansion and retrofitting of the former Coramart building. “We’re going to have all new equipment,” he explained. “Shelving, refrigeration, frozen food and dairy cases will all be built in the other building and there will be work on the other building probably through the end of the year.”
Thompson mentioned there will also be public restrooms in the new space, as well as some new and expanded features of the store that couldn’t previously be included that the community can look forward to. “We’ll have an expanded bakery with decorated cakes and more than what we have now, and we’re going to have Fresh Made – chopped, fresh, cut up fruit and vegetables,” he added.
Once the expansion portion of the project is complete, a remodel of the original store space will begin, which Thompson expects will start around the beginning of 2022. The remodel will include expanding the aisles to be wider for shoppers, bringing in all new shelving and check stands, and more.
“There’s nothing that’s going to affect the main store for rest of this year,” Thompson explained, stating that Vons will remain open to the public throughout the remodel. “In 2022 we may close a little early as [remodel] work will be done at nights. We’re open until midnight right now and it may close at 10 p.m. once that portion of the project begins. That’s typically what I’ve seen at other stores [that have undergone remodels].”
“It’s at least a five month remodel, and is tentatively set to finish in February 2022,” Thompson stated.
That said, he added that COVID-19 has impacted supply lines in every industry including construction and that some flexibility on timelines may be necessary. They’ve already seen some equipment delays due to an insulation shortage. Even so, Thompson’s experience with keeping a grocery store open while working with construction teams and subcontractors means that he and the team of Vons employees are equipped to handle the many moving parts of this process.
“I think it’s great for the community who deserves a new store,” Thompson said. “I’ve only been at [this location] for a year, and I empathize with them and want it to happen. It’s why I came over here.”
As we finished our conversation Thompson added, “I realize since I’ve been here how important the store is to the community. I’ve seen how much the community supports it and I and all the employees here value that. I’ve worked in a lot of stores in lots of areas around San Diego and [Coronado is] a unique area and I’m happy to be here and be a part of it.”
As the expansion begins, customers can continue to access Vons through the main store’s entrances which will remain open throughout the week.