Jensen’s Foods in Point Loma Opened Today – Friday, Dec. 9th

by on December 9, 2016 · 4 comments

in Culture, History, Ocean Beach

pl-jensens-ready-2

Jensen’s getting prepared. Photo by South OB Girl

By Don Sevrens

For many, it is more than just a store opening.  Jensen’s Foods opened at 9 a.m. today – Friday, December 9th – at the year-long vacant grocery space at Catalina and Talbot. A brief ceremony and such was held around 8:45 a.m.

Recall that a year or so ago Fresh and Easy folded and a mega-pharmacy picked up the lease. The
plan was to put a mega-pharmacy exactly next door to an independent.

The community said no. Three thousand times no. The mega-pharmacy went away. Peninsula
residents started reaching out to grocery chains: ‘Please visit the empty store site. We need a grocery store within walking distance. Especially the students at Point Loma Nazarene University without cars.’

Adam Zack, co-owner of Jensen’s Foods, an eight outlet chain based in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, heard those pleas. “We were impressed by the friendliness of people living in Point Loma and Ocean Beach,” Adam said. It didn’t hurt that Adam and brothers Matt and Michael are big Chargers fans and that the Point Loma store site was an easy detour on Game Day.

There were hurdles ahead.

The store, built in 1950, was painfully small by today’s supermarket standards. It lacked kitchen facilities and Jensen’s found that unacceptable. It would do a complete remodel.

California has something called Title 24. The good news is that it requires new stores to meet the latest in sustainable energy standards. The bad news is that it is costly and time-consuming with construction delays. And Jensen’s says itd is proud to meet those standards.

Finally, the most common reaction of most locals was “Jensen’s who?”

Unless you owned a second home in the High Desert, you probably had never been in one of their stores. “Fabulous meats and fresh, prepared foods,” said the second home crowd and desert transplants. “Basic brands, upscale brands and local vendors.” The website says each store strives to be a part of the local community and to support local causes. The transplants vouch for that.

Samantha Stockton, PLNU graduate student now on the professional women’s golf circuit, this writer and others suggested that volunteers could organize a block party to introduce residents and grocer. Jensen’s agreed and a block party Oct. 29 with vendors’ booths and civic booths drew more than 1,000 persons.

There are other grocery choices on the Peninsula, though not as many as we would like, hence the sense of loss of one going dark for a year.

“We missed having an anchor tenant bring in foot traffic,” said Kristin Curran of Cup of Yo. Pharmacist Mike Saad of Point Loma Cabrillo Drug, who once faced the agony of sharing a common wall with a mega-pharmacy, agrees. So does the proud Iranian immigrant family running the environmentally friendly Ocean Cleaners two doors down.

Volunteers who have been given sneak peeks say the Jensen’s approach and the on-site kitchen have produced something that will surprise Peninsula residents. The store has a huge deli, salad bar and prepared meals for takeout. The meat counter is in keeping with Jensen’s reputation.

Other Jensen’s locations offer grocery and floral delivery. This one probably will do so also, said Adam Zack. He wants to get things running smoothly first.

His idea was to open the doors one day without an announcement, let the community trickle in and get the kinks out first in what he calls “a quiet opening.”

The 3,000 petitioners, the thousand-plus block partyers seemed to say good luck with that. Adam finally capitulated to a brief ceremony at 8:45 a.m. for today, Friday, Dec. 9.

Feel free to take a peek inside when you’re near the neighborhood shopping center at Catalina and Talbot. You may be surprised at what’s new on the Peninsula, a grocery our community fought to keep.

Sevrens is a community advocate and helped organize the block party.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Don Sevrens December 9, 2016 at 2:01 pm

Jensen’s opened with a small crowd waiting. Lori Zapf was there for speech, official proclamation and ribbon cutting. Don Sevrens asked to speak for a minute or two on how community took on mega-pharmacy and got its neighborhood grocery back.

The completely remodelled store is incredible and has a blend of prepared foods (deli, salad bar, fresh takeout) with combination of basic and upscale groceries we have not seen.

A small army of employees — Jensen’s hired 68 — was on hand, many bleary eyed from working throught the night.

I never thought I would rave about a meat counter, but wow. The organic and rarely seen-here choices should stun the vegan relatives. A 20-minute conversation with Dale Roberts of vendor Melissa’s gave this carnivore an education.

Reply

Avatar Byron Wear December 9, 2016 at 5:33 pm

Having grown up in Point Loma since 1964, we knew that keeping a grocery store was the community priority.

Jensen’s is a wonderful family owned and is very supportive of our local community.

Thanks for your hard work, Don and the leadership of the Peninsula Community Planning Board is urging prompt approvals and inspections.

We got our wish from Santa. Merry Christmas.

Reply

Avatar Susie December 14, 2016 at 2:48 am

Byron,
Really , U don’t believe in Santa at your age, do you?
Really ? Oh, there are tooth fairies too .

Reply

Avatar Byron Wear December 14, 2016 at 7:39 am

I believe it Santa Claus.

Reply

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