Monday, January 29, 2018 / by Sean Zanganeh
Check out this article, originally published in the La Jolla Light. Jonathan's Market in La Jolla has officially announced that it will be closing on June 1st, 2014, and will be replaced by a Cinema. It will be the first movie theater in the La Jolla Village since the Cove Theatre on Girard Avenue closed in 2002. You can view the original Jonathan's Market article at the La Jolla Lights News Webpage.
By Pat Sherman
Despite months of refutations from employees and its corporate office, on April 30 the management of Jonathan's Market at 7611 Fay Ave., finally confirmed rumors of the store’s closing with a simple message written on a dry erase board set outside the front door: “Thank you La Jolla for 18 wonderful years. Jonathan's Market will be closing its doors for good on June 1, 2014.”
This no-frills farewell sign was posted outside the front entrance to Jonathan's Market April 30.
Exiting Jonathan's Market with a cart of groceries around noon May 1, La Jolla Community Planning Association trustee Nancy Manno said she was “heartbroken” at the news.
“When I walked in yesterday afternoon and saw the sign I started to cry,” Manno said. “I opened a house charge (at Jonathan’s) the third day they opened the store. … I know the manager. I can call and say, ‘I really wish you’d get this particular cookie or this particular thing.’ ”
“I’m bummed,” added Union Bank Vice-President Dawn DuCharme, who also shops at the adjacent Vons, but preferred Jonathan’s specialty items, such as its homemade chips and guacamole, and salad bar, and ample parking. “I actually heard about (the closing) a while ago and I asked one of the clerks about it two weeks ago and he said, ‘Oh, no, no. We had a meeting and we’re not closing.’ ”
Warwick’s employee Jim Stewart, who has shopped at Jonathan’s for the past two decades, called the closing a “great loss for the Village.”
Stewart said he preferred Jonathan’s for its selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, fine wine and “that hard to find spice or gourmet extra.
“The deli has the best sandwiches, meat counter, and tasty selection of salads and precooked dinners,” he said. “Others say the prices are high, which is true in some cases, but I was willing to pay a little extra for their excellent customer service. … Plus, it was carpeted, which made shopping there an even greater pleasure.”
The upscale grocery store opened more than three decades ago under different ownership, as part of the Big Bear grocery chain founded by John Mabee. Its current owner, Dallo Enterprises, operates Harvest Ranch Markets in Encinitas and El Cajon. A third Harvest Ranch in Del Mar closed its doors Dec. 31, 2013.
The Cove Theatre, which operated in La Jolla from the 1940s to 2003 on Girard Avenue. Courtesy La Jolla Historical Society
Theater in the wings
In an e-mail received May 1, the city’s development services department confirmed to La Jolla Light the other piece of the rumor floating around the Village the past few months — that the building’s future tenant is seeking to convert the space into a cinema. It would be the first movie theater in the Village since the Cove Theatre on Girard Avenue closed in 2002.
City staff are preliminarily reviewing plans for tenant improvements, to include some minor demolition and the inclusion of an auditorium, lobby, bathrooms, employee room, storage, offices and concessions area on the ground level. The applicant is also seeking to raise the height of the roof and add projector rooms and a storage area on the second level. The city’s Planning Division has approved the project, though it must still undergo plumbing, mechanical and electrical reviews, the city says.
La Jolla Architect Michael Morton, whose firm, Marengo Morton Architects, is located next door to the space where the Cove Theatre was (7730 Girard Ave. near Kline Street), said he thinks the return of a movie house would boost the Village atmosphere.
“It might be a good thing for the local merchants to keep people in La Jolla, rather than people exiting La Jolla,” he said.
According to La Jolla Historical Society staff historian Carol Olten, the earliest reference to Jonathan's Market in the La Jolla Blue Book is from the 1970-’71 edition. In 1993, the Big Bear chain sold Jonathan’s to the Fleming Company out of Oklahoma City, then a year later it was purchased by GreenTree, then later Dallo Enterprises.
At the time of this posting, the Dallo family had not responded to several requests to comment on the closure.
Olten, a former film critic, said she is “very happy about a movie theater opening in La Jolla again.”
Underground parking at the site could be its saving grace, she said, noting that a lack of parking was one of the things that may have led to the Cove’s demise—particularly when its owners considered redeveloping the single-screen theater (then under Landmark Theatres’ auspices) as a multiplex..
The only single-screen movie theater left in San Diego is the Ken Cinema in San Diego’s Kensington neighborhood, which was nearly shuttered last month, though it will remain open, with planned improvements, largely due to outcry from cinema buffs.
According to Olten, at one time La Jolla had two other movie houses — the Granada Theatre (at the corner of Wall Street and Girard Avenues, where La Plaza La Jolla is being developed) and the Unicorn Cinema, at the corner of La Jolla Boulevard and Pearl Street (today, Kitchen Expo).