Residents Favor Vons Store, Survey Shows

Local residents favor a Vons Markets store at a Laurel Canyon Boulevard site that is being sold by the Ralphs grocery store chain, according to a Studio City homeowners group.

A survey showed 55% of the respondents among a 2,000-member residents' association chose either Vons or Vons Pavilions, a more upscale version, to replace the Ralphs store at 4033 Laurel Canyon Blvd. The association conducted the study itself, by telephone and fax. State officials ordered the sale after the recent merger of the Ralphs and Hughes supermarket chains. Residents had complained about a Ralphs monopoly in the region.

"The majority of residents are in favor of Vons taking over the Ralphs site," said Tony Lucente, president of the association. "We think the community should be heard."

Lucente said he wrote a letter Monday to the president of Vons Markets in hopes the company would come to Studio City. Company representatives were unavailable for comment Tuesday.

Vons has 316 stores in California but none in the Studio City-Sherman Oaks area.

Lucente said the poll was conducted to give local residents a say in what store should replace the Ralphs store that must be sold as part of the Ralphs-Hughes merger. Lucente's association and the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn. opposed the merger, saying there was a Ralphs monopoly in the area.

Ralphs already had 342 stores in Southern California and would gain another 57 in the merger, giving it by far the largest share of the Southern California market.

Last month the state attorney general ordered Ralphs and Hughes to sell 19 locations, including the Laurel Canyon Boulevard site, to maintain competition among grocery store chains.

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