When we profiled Jimbo’s… Naturally! last September, our one regret was that the markets are so North County-centric. The influential health-conscious grocery store has roots in San Diego’s North Park area; these days, however, anyone living south of Carlsbad, 4S Ranch, Escondido, or Carmel Valley may find the drive a little daunting, especially with several Sprouts and Whole Foods locations more easily within reach.
But all of that is about to change – founder and owner Jim Someck (Jimbo himself) announced that a new Jimbo’s… Naturally! location is opening, and for the first time in fifteen years it’s going to be located south of the 8. According to reports, the newest Jimbo’s will be located within downtown’s Westfield Horton Plaza shopping mall and is slated to be the largest Jimbo’s location ever at an expansive 26,000 square feet.
Someck posted a note to fans on the grocery chain’s Facebook page, explaining how the new location has come to fruition:
I opened my original Jimbo's store in North Park, but subsequently sold it in 1997. Since then, I have had numerous customer requests to either return to that area or perhaps to the downtown area. I personally have felt a strong desire to be back down south and have looked fruitlessly for a site over the last few years. However, we now have the site we have been looking for, and are looking forward to being able to serve the downtown area with the same high quality food and service that we have always strived to achieve.
The new site will certainly challenge us, as among other things, we have never opened a store in such an urban area. However, we are confident that we will be able to be successful.
Westfield is working closely with Jimbo’s on the development, tricking out the location with easy entrances and shopping cart-ready escalators to better adapt the supermarket to its multipurpose shopping mall home.
This is huge news for a number of reasons, least of which is that there will finally be a Jimbo’s that this editor can visit on the weekend. The most important part is just touched on in Someck’s note. It’s not just Jimbo’s that hasn’t yet opened in heavily urban areas – more grocery stores are sorely needed in urban settings, especially those that offer variety and put a focus on health and organics. Food deserts are a very real problem, and there are several within San Diego alone. When a city’s citizens can’t reliably make it to high quality food, more purveyors of high quality food need to make it out to those citizens. For Jimbo’s – and the others who will hopefully follow if Jimbo’s can pull this new location off successfully – it’s a great first step.
The new Horton Plaza Jimbo’s… Naturally! location expects to open in the second quarter of 2013. We’re looking forward to it.