Vons

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the grocer. For other uses, see Vons (disambiguation).
The Vons Companies, Inc.
Type Subsidiary of Safeway, Inc.
Industry Retail
Founded 1906 (Los Angeles, California)
Headquarters Arcadia, California
Number of locations 325
Products Bakery, dairy, deli, frozen foods, general grocery, meat, pharmacy, produce, seafood, snacks, liquor, floral
Parent Safeway Inc. (since 1997)
Subsidiaries Pavilions
Website Vons.com

Vons is a Southern California and Southern Nevada supermarket chain and a division of Safeway, Inc. It is headquartered in Arcadia, California,[1] and operates stores under the Vons and Pavilions banners.

History[edit]

Beginning[edit]

Charles Von der Ahe opened a 20-foot wide store named Von's Groceteria in downtown Los Angeles, California, in 1906. The business had grown to 87 stores by 1928, when he sold the operation to MacMarr Stores. MacMarr was acquired by M.B. Skaggs' Safeway in 1930. In 1932, his sons Theodore and Wilfred restarted the Von's Grocery Company.[2]

In 1948, Von's opened a pioneering store which offered self-service, pre-packaged produce, meat, and deli items. By 1958, it had doubled in size to 27 stores, the third-largest grocery chain in the Greater Los Angeles Area[3] In 1960 it acquired the sixth-largest, competitor Shopping Bag, a merger that was challenged by the Federal Trade Commission on antitrust grounds. In 1966 the United States Supreme Court ruled against Von's in United States v. Von's Grocery Co. (384 U.S. 270), forcing a re-divestiture of the stores, which were eventually sold to Fisher Foods.[3] The Von der Ahe family sold the chain to Household Finance Corporation in 1969.[2] In 1970, Vons had 128 stores, making it the 2nd largest supermarket chain in southern California behind Safeway.

1980s–present[edit]

Exterior of the Vons store in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California

In 1984, Vons was named official supermarket of the 1984 Summer Olympics.

In 1984, William Davila was named Chairman and CEO of Vons, the first Mexican American to be CEO of an American supermarket chain. Prior to his appointment, Davila worked for 37 years at Vons before becoming CEO. He opened Tianguis, catering to Hispanic consumers, and was well received as the company's television spokesman, starring in commercials in both English and Spanish during his tenure. He retired in 1999.

In 1986, Household spun off Vons Companies in a leveraged buyout. To recapitalize itself, Vons merged with Detroit, Michigan-based Allied Supermarkets and sold off its assets outside California. Vons was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1987.

Also in 1986, Vons introduced Pavilions, a "combination store" concept which offered a wider variety of upscale products as well as pharmacy and other non-food products and services. Some stores that were smaller were branded Pavilions Place.

In 1988, Safeway sold most of its stores in southern California and southern Nevada to Vons in exchange for an ownership stake.[4] In April 1997, Safeway exercised its option to acquire full control of the company, and Vons has since operated as a subsidiary. Most of the Safeway brands and advertising campaigns are used by the Vons stores.[5]

The Charles Von der Ahe Library was the main library of Loyola Marymount University (LMU) until the Fall of 2009 when the new William H. Hannon Library was opened. In the new library there is a Von der Ahe suite located on the third floor.[6] Its construction was made possible by a 1957 gift from the Von's Foundation. Wilfred Von Der Ahe's three sons, Bill, Chuck, and Tom all graduated from Loyola University. Three of Tom Von Der Ahe's children are also alumni and currently his oldest granddaughter, Megan attends LMU. Chuck Von Der Ahe's son, Wil Von der Ahe, is also an alumnus of LMU's predecessor, Loyola University Los Angeles. Wil Von Der Ahe's daughter, Brookie Von Der Ahe attends Boston College.

In March 2014, Cerberus Capital Management (which also owns rival grocery chain Albertsons) agreed to terms to purchase Vons' parent, Safeway.[7] Cerberus' plans to merge the chains would likely result in store closures, especially with both Vons and Albertsons having a significant presence in Southern California.[8]

Lifestyle branding[edit]

On April 18, 2005, Safeway began a $100 million brand re-positioning campaign labeled "Ingredients for life." This was done in an attempt to differentiate itself from its competitors, and to increase brand involvement. Steve Burd described it as "branding the shopping experience".

The launch included a redesigned logo, a new slogan "Ingredients for life" alongside a four-panel life icon to be used throughout stores and advertising, and a web application called "FoodFlex" to improve consumer nutrition. Many locations are being converted to the "Lifestyle" format. The new look was designed by Michigan-based PPC Design. In addition to the "inviting decor with warm ambiance and subdued lighting", the move required heavy redesign of store layout, new employee uniforms, sushi and olive bars, and the addition of in-store Starbucks kiosks (with cupholders on grocery carts). The change also involved differentiating the company from competitors with promotions based on the company’s extensive loyalty card database. At the end of 2004 there were 142 "Lifestyle" format stores in the United States and Canada, with plans to open or remodel another 300 stores with this type of theme the following year. "Lifestyle format" stores have seen significantly higher average weekly sales than their other stores. By the end of 2006, shares were up proving that this rebranding campaign had a major impact on sale figures.

Slogans[edit]

  • Vons is Value (mid-to-late 1990s)
  • Delivering Our Best (late 1990s-2005)
  • Ingredients for life (2005–present)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Vons Companies Inc · DEF 14A · For 5/11/94". Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved April 30, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "The Vons Companies, Inc.". FundingUniverse.com. 
  3. ^ a b "UNITED STATES v. VON'S GROCERY CO., 384 U.S. 270 (1966)". FindLaw. 
  4. ^ "The Wait Is Over: Vons Acquires Safeway Stores". Los Angeles Times. August 30, 1988. 
  5. ^ "Safeway merger opening new chapter in Vons saga". Supermarket News. April 21, 1997. 
  6. ^ "The Library's History". Retrieved May 17, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Albertsons Owner to Buy Safeway for More than $9 Billion". NBC News. March 6, 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-10. 
  8. ^ "Merger of Safeway, Albertsons likely to result in store closures". Los Angeles Daily News. April 8, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-14. 

External links[edit]