Thursday, April 2, 2015

A New Vons Store for Avalon?

CIB supports the new Von's store.

The proposed Von's grocery store at the corner of Beacon and Sumner street will be a 20,000 square foot store, approximately 1/3 the size of their prototypical mainland stores.  It will be twice the size of the existing two facilities in Avalon.   

Von's Front View

Von's Beacon Street View

Why Beacon & Sumner?
According to the Catalina Chamber of Commerce, Vons, not the Santa Catalina Island Company, has chosen the Beacon street location for a number of business reasons:
  • Price of the property:  Vons will not build a new store on property it does not own on the island.  The challenge in Avalon has always been to acquire a property that has the right financial, location and physical characteristics to facilitate the construction of a new store.
  • Property availability and price:  Just about ANY property suitable for a new grocery store is going to be currently owned by the Santa Catalina Island Company.  So, the Santa Catalina Island Company would have to be willing to sell that property, at a price agreeable to Vons, for a deal to work.  The Beacon St. property is the only property that satisfies both requirements.
  • Location:  Like all retail businesses in Avalon, location is everything.  And like all retail businesses in Avalon, Vons depends on island visitors to be successful - the store simply would not be feasible selling food to only islanders.  So, the Beacon St. property is as far off the main visitor area of town that Vons is willing to go.  Any farther up the canyon (like the City Hall area), the company feels would cause it to lose enough visitor business as to affect the store's profitability.  Any other retailers want to move up to City Hall or Field of Dreams?  We doubt it.
  • Zoning:  The Beacon St. property is zoned "Commercial," and a grocery store is one of the permitted uses in a commercial zone.  Vons is not asking for ANY zoning variances.  Any property owner who complies with zoning ordinances and doesn't ask for variances to those ordinances should expect approval of a building application.  If City officials don't respect their own zoning ordinances, why have them at all?
  • Traffic & parking: An independent traffic study, conducted by a firm selected by the City of Avalon (not Vons or the Santa Catalina Island Company) states:
    • Traffic:  "The proposed project would not result in any significant
      impacts relative to existing traffic conditions" at the intersections of Beacon and Sumner and Beacon and Catalina.  The study further states "no traffic mitigation measures are needed."
    •  Parking:  ". . . the proposed parking supply is expected to meet the needs of Vons patrons during the great majority of the time."
  • There just isn't a more "perfect place" in Avalon for a new grocery store:  No matter where a new store is located, someone will complain!  The Beacon St. location will benefit residents, visitors, and Vons!
After discussing all of these issues with Vons senior management, the Board of Directors of the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, Inc. voted unanimously to support the new Vons on Beacon.  The Chamber firmly believes this project is in the best interests of the Catalina Island business community, island residents and visitors.  (Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce)

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