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For many months, transients have hunkered down in front of the Albertsons supermarket at 2235 University Avenue in North Park. They panhandle for change and sometimes fall asleep on the sidewalk.

After contacting the Albertsons corporate office, I received an email on June 14 from loss prevention district manager Koby Dumas, who offered this reply: “Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience you may have experienced in respect to the transients that hang out at this location. We are looking into this opportunity and working on a solution.”

Lilia Rodriguez, external communications manager for Albertsons in Southern California, said by phone June 15 that “it's a challenge” dealing with the problem. They get many complaints from their customers at other store locations, she said.

Nikki Berdy, president of North Park Community Association, said by email, “I think the transient problem has gotten worse everywhere due to the economy.”

On June 15, I spoke with Belinda Cobb, tagged “Person in Charge” at the Ralphs on 1030 University Avenue. How does Ralphs manage to keep the panhandlers away, while Albertsons cannot? “It's because we have security here in the center,” Cobb said.

As for hiring security, Albertsons’ Rodriguez said the North Park store management has “all options on the table.” Store personnel must be careful about ordering transients off the property, she said, "because we don't want anyone to get hurt.”

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SanCarlosGuy June 16, 2011 @ 8:02 a.m.

It's really a shame that Albertson's after the money it spent on renovations can't do a better job securing it's property for shoppers. A guard would be a visual reminder to transients that all are welcome to shop without being harassed. A guard may also reduce their losses to shoplifting and help their employees and customers feel safer.


dwbat June 16, 2011 @ 8:13 a.m.

It's also a sanitation issue, as the transients have dumped trash and half-eaten food behind the water-dispensing machine, and on the sidewalk in front near the entrance. Obviously this draws roaches and rodents.


dwbat June 30, 2011 @ 3:53 p.m.

I've been observing the North Park Albertsons every day since my story appeared, and have seen NO homeless on the property. Why?--The store now has a security guard.


dwbat Aug. 8, 2012 @ 12:50 p.m.

The homeless have returned, as Albertsons no longer has a security guard. A store employee told me today that they cannot afford it. The supermarket chain is in big financial trouble, and so is their corporate owner, Supervalu.


dwbat Aug. 16, 2012 @ 11:02 a.m.

Today I stopped a shoplifter at this store. He grabbed a big handful of game tickets from underneath an unused cash register. I happened to be right there. So I yelled at him he couldn't do that, and he put them back, saying "I thought they were free." Then he walked out of the store. I told a store employee about it. She said he's in there all the time; no doubt he's stealing whatever he can get.


dwbat Sept. 5, 2012 @ 5:54 p.m.

Today Supervalu/Albertsons announced that about 19 Albertsons in SoCal would be closed. The list didn't include any in SD.


dwbat Dec. 22, 2014 @ 10:30 p.m.

The U-T just reported that several Albertsons stores will be sold off, including the North Park and Mission Hills stores. Grocery chain Haggen is buying them, and several Vons stores.


Visduh Dec. 23, 2014 @ 9:12 p.m.

When one chain buys another that has stores in the same area, the FTC or DOJ will insist on some steps that will prevent the "loss of competition." In this case the private equity operation that owns Albertson's is buying up Safeway, which is Von's in this area. Hence, the new combination has to sell off some of its stores to another competitor. Today, no competitor in the area is in a position to buy some of the stores, hence they find an out-of-the-area buyer, which happens to be from the northwest.

Some years ago, Albertson's acquired all the Lucky stores, and had to sell off a bunch of stores. In many cases, such as here in Vista where Albertson's had to dispose of its own two stores, the FTC just arbitrarily picked the excess outlets, and decreed they had to be sold. That time around it was Stater Brothers who suddenly found itself a major player in the county. But this time, Stater could not qualify--if it had wanted to--and a new outsider had to be found. This supermarket merger mania has only served to fragment the market, confuse the public, and provide more openings for Sprouts, Fresh and Easy, Smart and Final Extra, "Whole Paycheck", Grocery Outlet, and a host of 99-centers, all of which sell food,


dwbat Dec. 24, 2014 @ 10:03 a.m.

I like Sprouts for the cheaper produce, but I avoid buying their other stuff. And for some grocery items, you get a better deal at CVS when they're on sale, than at Albertsons. Hopefully Haggen will be cheaper than Albertsons for North Park residents. We'll have to wait and see.


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