On Tuesday, Curt and Jean Waite of Canyon Country shared their story of shuttering their business “My Video Store and My Barber Shop” after nine years and their frustrations with the new landlord,the Safeway Corp., at the Vons Shopping Center at Soledad Canyon Road and Sand Canyon Road. Read the original story here => http://scvnews.com/?p=36849
Carlos Illingworth, Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations for Vons, called to respond to the story the next day. Mr. Illingworth was asked if it was true that tenants like the Waites had their rent raised by 35 percent.
“We’re not going to comment on the lease rate for one specific tenant. Many rates had not been adjusted for years and we simply brought them into line with today’s market,” said Illingworth.
Those lease rate changes are the reason the Waites are the latest store owners to be leaving. Also gone are Pet Depot, Eden Salon, Eddy Chiropractic, Dilemma Clothing and Laura’s Beauty Supply. When the story was posted on the KHTS Facebook page readers lamented not being able to do combine their grocery trip to Vons with the other services offered at the Vons Shopping Center.
Illingworth says the losses will be addressed.
Curt and Jean Waite, owners of My Video Store and Barber Shop at 16674 Soledad Canyon Road (near Sand Canyon Road).
“In addition to longstanding businesses that are staying, including the dry cleaners, we are looking to add a hair cutting tenant and other new service oriented tenants. Our goal is to populate the center with retail and services that meet the needs of the community and create the superior center that the community deserves. Each potential tenant will be assessed in order to find the perfect fit,” said Illingworth.
Curt Waite had also complained that Vons created competition that directly undermined his business by placing a Redbox video rental kiosk in front of the Vons entrance.
“Our records of the revenue generated by the Redbox kiosk indicate that it would not pose meaningful competition to a video retailer,” said Illingworth.
Waite hasn’t seen those records.
“I couldn’t put a monetary value on it, but if it only costs us $50 a day, over the course of month that’s $1,500. There’s half the rent. So it hurt,” said Curt Waite.
Waite believes Vons purposely hurt his business and has filed a suit in Small Claims Court against Safeway Corporation.
“The vast majority of customers who use Redbox come to our store to shop for groceries and utilize the kiosk for convenience. They do not come to our store specifically to rent a video,” said Illingworth.
Illingworth said the renovated Vons will continue to offer a Redbox video kiosk and expand their selection of Hallmark greeting cards “along with a host of new amenities.”
The Waites had spoken about rumors that a Pavilions was going to be put in place of the Vons, but that the economic level of the community didn’t support a higher end grocery store. Illingworth did not respond to the rumors, but did confirm the Vons brand will remain.
“When we remodel a store, we keep the existing banner because there is a brand identity that the community already recognizes and identifies with,” said Illingworth.