CVS Pharmacy and Retail Store Going In at Old Apple Tree Market in Ocean Beach

by on October 7, 2013 · 36 comments

in Economy, Environment, Ocean Beach

CVS PharmIt appears that a CVS Pharmacy and retail store will be opening up at the old Apple Tree Market site.

This is confirmed by a quick look at the agenda of  the OB Planning Committee’s Project Review Committee for September 18th. Action Item No. 1 was an application for a “Alcoholic Beverage Control License Type 21” for CVS Pharmacy at4949 Santa Monica Avenue in OB.  That’s the exact location of the old Apple Tree.

CVS was applying for a liquor license for the sale of wine and distilled spirits for consumption off the premises.

But the agenda item was pulled at the last moment because, as we are told, the applicant “wasn’t ready.”

The applicant – CVS Pharmacy – is according to the agenda planning a store that “will be a pharmacy/retail establishment with less than 10% of floor space dedicated to alcohol sales ….”

This is big news and a big deal for the community.

The empty building has sat there for nearly a year, being a large eyesore on the 1.21 -acre site. Villagers and groups protested its closure, but to no avail. The owner of the market was forced out – promising to open up a smaller version of his market at his other property on Newport, the old Bank of America/ Rock Paper Scissors building – then housing the OB Surf and Skate Shop. The skate shop was evicted – but no market ever materialized.

The OB Rag did a poll on its closing, and the responses were very mixed, with over a fifth voting that the old Apple Tree was dirty and smelly and they wouldn’t miss its departure.

Over the months, rumors have swirled that different companies would move in to the large, Fifties-style cavern on Santa Monica. First it was Foodland, then People’s Food, and then even Wal-Mart.  None were true.

Questions have also been raised as to what’s to become of the  old murals on the Santa Monica side.  We’ve also raised complaints over the months’ long empty and weed-filled, fence-ringed old parking lot and its landscaping.

If approved, the CVS Pharmacy would presumably take over the building without destroying it and also take over management of the parking lot.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie October 7, 2013 at 12:22 pm



Tyler October 7, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Meh. Not happy, but it’s better than a blighted lot that isn’t kept up whatsoever.

CVS must be quite confident they can capture a decent market share considering the Rite-Aide is just blocks away.


obecean October 7, 2013 at 11:22 pm

The lot has been “kept up” for the last several months.


Tyler October 8, 2013 at 6:51 am

I don’t just mean the weeds that were sticking out of the ground in the parking lot. The owner had people trim the hedges once when the fence came down and it looked like a horrid hack job . Still looks bad now. The offloading dock in the alley is a disgusting area as well


OB Dude October 8, 2013 at 8:49 am

The post office needs a clean up :-)


obecean October 7, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Great! What a fine addition to the community this will be….not! I wonder what type of market research was done by the CVS corporate bean countery? There’s already a super cheesy, corporate drug store here that most people I know avoid for many reasons. There’s also another CVS, a Target, a Walgreen’s within 3 miles. The traffic getting into and out of OB on Sunset Cliffs is to be avoided whenever possible, so surely mostly OBceans are their only potential customers. My infrequent visits of the CVS on W. Point Loma leave me longing for the Hawaii based Longs.

A grocery store like Sprouts/Stumps/Trader Joe’s/People’s or would be much more desirable for the community. This was an opportunity for real community planning with OB residents considered.

I’d wager a CVS there doesn’t last 3 years.


jim grant October 7, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Corporate stores have deep pockets. I think the same was said about *buck$ that it would not last well that’s been 10 years….
the ” ob community” cant decide on whether or not they like marshmallows cluttering the storm drains and littering the beaches i doubt they can decide about big decisions like who will occupy the old market …jus sayin.


CC October 10, 2013 at 7:44 am

I would have loved a Sprouts. OB Needs some type of grocery store.

A Sprouts would have thrived. in PB there are 2 CVS across the street from each other so I doubt they care about the low turnout they’ll get in OB.


OB Bro October 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm

This sucks. CVS is just another way overpriced POS like Rite Aid. Apple Tree wasn’t much better but at least we could buy food there. OUTCRY!


kenloc October 8, 2013 at 1:17 pm

It’s about time something is going in there. Rite Aid is overpriced? Everything there is cheaper than at the local stores,Beer,wine,milk.Not just a little cheaper,alot cheaper.That’s why there is always a line 12 people deep. I’m sure CVS saw the brisk business Rite Aid was doing and saw an opportunity.I think they will do well there.


Jon October 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm

I’m glad it’s not condos, and someplace that may provide local jobs.
My concern though is that these CVs/rite aid retail stores are turning into de facto local grocery outlets. However, they offer only cheap, processed, sugary garbage. Over the years rite aids grocery section has grown immensely. But you won’t find fresh produce or healthy options. Just a bunch of snacks, microwave dinners and spam. Not a good option for our seniors and those struggling to make ends meet. But hey, at least you’ll know where to go to get your diabetes and high cholesterol medications once you’ve made yourself sick from a steady diet of CVS foodstuffs.


Frank Gormlie October 8, 2013 at 11:03 am

LOL, thanks Jon for the chuckle – at least we’ll know where to go for our diabetes and high-cholesterol meds after eating the offered food products.


Jeffeck October 7, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Free market conservative here who is not too thrilled this is the direction that location will go. Of course it is not ours to dictate who goes in there within zoning boundaries etc.

Better than a vacant lot or condo but not by much. It would have been nice to have a nice well kept small business of some kind there. Something unique and inventive preferably. Maybe a some kind of light manufacturing or blue collar job source.

Agreed Longs was a much better store up to the last few years here. Do we really need more liquor, pills and junk food?


Jon October 7, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Not too mention, a company like CVS will most likely demolish that building and insert a giant, glowing, beige stucco box in its place. Sad day for this sleepy little beach hamlet.


Dan Shay October 7, 2013 at 4:27 pm

The most popular drug at most drug stores seems to be alcohol. Although it may only occupy 10% of the floor space, I bet alcohol and tobacco sales make up over 50% of the sales volume for Rite Aid and CVS. The market research they did probably indicates OB has enough demand that it can support two large drug stores and 20 other liquor stores and bars. Most other beach towns probably have similar demand levels including PB.


Kevin Miller October 7, 2013 at 4:43 pm

This is really disappointing… I was praying for a new super market to go in there. I’m tired of having to drive for my groceries.

Oh well, just another generic chain store I’m never going to go to. A Sprouts would have been nice at least.


Mike October 7, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Tourist will fuel sales at this location due to familiarity.
Remember when we thought Starbucks would leave after a shortage of sales to locals?


kenloc October 16, 2013 at 7:58 am

That Starbucks is busy all day,every day.And,at least in the morning,it’s mostly locals jumping out of their car to get their fix on the way to work.Could you imagine the line if they put in a drive thru?
Starbucks has been here for a long time now,it was here when many current Obecians 1st arrived.Just another part of the community to them.Like Wings =(
I don’t go there because I don’t care for their coffee,not to make an statement.I bet if McDonalds opened that would be packed every day as well,with locals and tourists alike.
french fries.mmmmmmmmmmm


Roz Cole October 7, 2013 at 6:24 pm

CVS?!?! I know a lot of people that want to see that property a family/kid productive business. Like a roller rink or an all-star gym.


Jon October 8, 2013 at 7:50 am

We all wanted something in there that would benefit our community. But I think we all had a sinking feeling we were getting something like this. Let’s not forget who we are dealing with. This property owner could care less about ocean beach. He had to be FORCED to clean up the lot as much as he did. And only when there was some economic benefit for him to do so. This is just another daily transaction, leased to the highest bidder. I don’t think he’s winning the hearts and minds of any locals, and I’m even more certain he doesn’t care about that.


Dave Rice October 7, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Well, I guess there are worse options, but as others have mentioned there are plenty of problems:
1. We’ve already got a major chain drug store in Rite Aid.
2. There’s already a CVS just up the road.
3. That CVS was way better when it was a Long’s, before they sold out all their San Diego stores.
4. What we really need is a grocery store. People’s is nice but a little spendy on the produce and a lot spendy on everything else, and Olive Tree is limited in quantity and also uber expensive.


Goatskull October 8, 2013 at 8:16 am

Plus they don’t carry meat products and no alcohol. People like to purchase beer and/or wine and other libations with their groceries. Yes it would have been nice for a Sprouts (kinda pricy also) or Trader Joes (not as pricey) but unfortunately it’s not going to happen and despite past rumors it was never in the cards to begin with. How well CVS does remains to be seen.


Goatskull October 8, 2013 at 8:18 am

“They” being OB People’s.


mark October 8, 2013 at 8:47 am

OBecians need a reasonably priced supermarket that is withing walking distance of their homes. Apple Tree provided this, even if their bread was a little moldy and their produce was sometimes slightly less than fresh. They had everything you needed so you didn’t always have to drive to Von’s or Ralph’s. Now the only thing OB has that’s even close to a large supermarket is Stump’s.


OB Dude October 8, 2013 at 8:48 am

What is the status of Apple Tree relocating to Newport?


Frank Gormlie October 8, 2013 at 11:07 am

Not certain, but last I looked, the old Paper Rock Scissors building had a boxing ring inside.


Jon October 8, 2013 at 9:39 am

People’s does sell beer & wine. All organic, local-ish, free range grapes & hops I suppose? But seriously…. They do have that option. It’s just not a focus of theirs like most grocery/convenience stores.


Goatskull October 8, 2013 at 6:03 pm

If they sell that then I stand corrected. Still my point was the OB People’s is more of a niche market, even in OB.


Jon October 8, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Oh yeah, I agree. I shop there all the time, but I don’t buy beer there because they don’t have a great selection unless you’re going for gluten free or something.


gristmiller October 8, 2013 at 10:08 am



Steve October 8, 2013 at 11:57 am

The CrappleTree building probably needs a lot of fixing up before anything can move into there. It only makes sense that a company with deep pockets is going to move in.


Marcus October 9, 2013 at 10:03 am

What OB needs is a grocery store. Like a little Ralph’s like the one on Rosecrans. Not another pharmacy.


theturth October 10, 2013 at 1:28 pm

They are there to sell pills. That is the only function of a CVS, to sell pills. Meth to the children in the CVS drugstore. Meth in the alley for the adult addicts.


Rachel A. October 11, 2013 at 10:21 am

Booo! It would have been better to have seen a grocery store such as Sprouts or Trader Joe’s…
another corporate pharmacy we do NOT need!


kbanashek October 15, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Terrible idea, OB need a grocery store of some type. I have not met one resident here who thinks this is a good idea. I bring it up with as many people around here as I can so they are aware and share their disapproval which I hope anyone reading this will do as well.

I really hope the board turns down their application for a liquor license and forces them to reconsider proceeding with the OB location…


Debbie November 29, 2013 at 9:07 am

They are thinking out of the box …..”We offer a full range of supermarket products, including fresh produce, dairy, meats, seafood, and deli goods. Our bakery will feature the tasty treats of the re-known baker and actor, Dwight Henry. Our name brand packaged goods include value-priced specials. Our Pharmacy, H&W Drug Store, will help meet your families’ prescription medication needs. And customers who spend $50.00 or more have access to our Shuttle Service for a ride home”….IMAGINE THAT!


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