Located at 655 14th Avenue in San Diego (on the east side of 14th between Market and G Streets), Albertson’s-Savon Pharmacy complex is one of the only two full-size grocery/pharmacy store in Downtown San Diego (the other being Ralph’s Supermarket at 1st and G). So… naturally, the price is on the expensive side. Though, the size of the headache you get looking at the cashier ringing up the bill can be much soothed if you apply for Albertson’s Preferred Savings Card (really easy, just fill out the form available at check out and they’ll activate your bar-coded cards right away).
This is a huge store that includes a Savon Pharmacy (with Savon.com pickup service), a full bakery and deli section, ARS, Coinstar machine, One Hour Photo, florist, Western Union, a café (with a few tables inside the stores and some patio seats), a blood pressure machine. You can also buy stamps at check out. It is very spacious and clean. The store has underground parking lot, and there is a big paid parking lot across 14th St. It is 2 blocks east of the 12th Avenue Trolley Station (Blue Line), and has a bus stop on Market St.
A year ago I would have testified that the items that Albertson’s and Ralph’s have in common are a few cents more expensive here, but that is no longer the case. In the second week of November (2008), for instance, 1 liter sodas at Albertson’s go for $1.35 while at Ralph’s they are $1.85 a bottle. But the real deal is the Albertson’s brand Cola, whose comparatively satisfying taste is much enhanced by the price tag of 85 cents a bottle (Ralph’s doesn’t have its own brand of soda). Also, I think the store brand items at Albertson’s tend to be of a slightly better quality than the same at Ralph’s… The Albertson’s brand spaghetti sauce actually has thin chunks of ingredients (mushroom, onion, etc) whereas the Ralph’s brand only has ghosts of them. Also, the items that are on sales are really on sales at Albertson (you could get a 12 Oz box of Dreyer’s ice cream for $2.95 there last week. At Ralph’s these goodies’ on-sales price is $3.99).
Merchandise selection is huge with a lot of foreign food items, though they aren’t necessarily well stocked (the medium grained rice has been absent from the shelves for at least 4 weeks now). If you find a good deal, you have better grab it or it may sell out and not get re-stocked for a few weeks. The fresh baked breads are great attraction for me, and the deli counter offers pretty good deals. You can get a pound of 3 varieties of chicken wings for $5.99 (there is no comparable deal at Ralph’s), though the sushi selections is more limited. The deli line there isn’t very organized, but the service staff are always very efficient and won’t let you stand and wait very long before being served. The produce is often a lot fresher than what you’ll find at Ralph’s… Though is a bit more expensive.
Albertson’s is open from 5-12 AM daily. Store telephone (619) 237-1247. This store even offers online shopping for delivery ($12.50 fee) or pick-up ($5.95).
What I don’t really like about this place is how the store spreads all the food items around to make you walk the whole store during a shopping trip. Most dry and fresh food items are aggregated on the Market St end of the store, and if you want soft drinks or frozen food items, you have to walk the length of the place to the G St end for them. The oral hygiene and over-the-counter medications are located in the Savon Pharmacy section (toward the G St end of the store). I also don’t like there idea of handle-free and very fragile paper bags (though the nice staff there are good about double-backing when necessary)… Be sure to bring your own canvas bag when you shop here.
I haven’t used the Savon Pharmacy yet, but thier hours are:
Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 10am-6pm.
655 14th Avenue (between Market and G Sts)
San Diego, CA 92101
Store Tel (619) 237-1247
Pharmacy Tel (619) 237-9127