Vons loses vote on more outside signage


Store wanted to advertise outlets inside

Community planners said no to Vons to add signs for Wells Fargo, Starbucks and Jamba Juice on its exterior.

The company’s proposal to add the signage for the businesses inside the store at 7544 Girard Ave. was defeated on a 6-3-1 vote at the last La Jolla Planning Association meeting.

Vons representative Chris Wines told the group that the proposed change would alter the store’s color scheme as well as shave 15 feet from the existing 234 square feet of storefront signage.

The proposal prompted planner Orrin Gabsch to say that name brands are changing the shopping experience at the La Jolla store.

“When Vons came into town they billed this as a grocery store,” he said. “As the years have gone on, the grocery part of it has shrunk and now we have a big deli, an expanded liquor section, a big florist, a pharmacy, a Jamba Juice and a Starbucks.”

Planner Glen Rasmussen pointed out that the Vons wants to advertise name brands rather than grocery store shopping products or services offered. Instead, he suggested, the name-brand signs be clustered together and made to be generic.

It wasn’t the amount of signage proposed that bothered planner Robert Collins, but rather the multiplicity of signs all over the storefront, he said.

In a phone interview after the meeting, Daymond Rice, a spokesman for Vons, a Safeway Company, said, “At Vons, we strive to create a premiere, one-stop shopping experience for our customers.

“Our La Jolla property, and surrounding neighborhood, is special and unique - one which our customers have demonstrated a desire for, and the market suggests will support other unique elements, such as Jamba Juice and Starbucks.”

Because few of the locations have both elements, he said it is important to us to “let customers know, through signage, that these improvements are inside.”

Planner Jim Fitzgerald said he likes “all the new functionalities (Starbucks, Jamba Juice) but their signage is really cluttered … It makes the outside of the store look like an advertising marquee instead of an architectural design, and that is something I’m becoming increasingly concerned about.”