Edit ModuleShow Tags

Inside the Icon: Kobey’s Swap Meet

There’s history behind San Diego’s treasured open-air market. Anyone looking for a futon?


Published:

RAIN OR SHINE
Kobey’s is open Fridays through Sundays, year-round, rain or shine. In its 36-plus years in business, it has only been forced to close one day: the 2012 San Diego Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon, which used the Valley View Casino Center parking lot for runners.

FIXING PHONES
On any given weekend, there are six different sellers specializing in iPhone repair.

THE COUCH MAN
One seller, John Oswalt, known as “Futon John,” has sold futons at Kobey’s for 30 years. The swap meet is his only retail location.

LOYAL SELLERS
There are more than 25 sellers who have sold at Kobey’s for at least 25 years. There are 250 permanent sellers with permanent spaces.

Kobey’s Swap MeetKobey’s Swap Meet

SMART MOVE
Monte Kobey moved from Phoenix to San Diego in 1976 to launch his swap meet at the Midway Drive-In.

A MODEL CHILD
The “face” of Kobey’s is Monte Kobey’s grandson Anthony Pretto, who posed along with his sister Liza in the company’s early billboard and advertising campaigns. He now serves as operations and advertising director.

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
The initial swap meet had only 13 sellers and 200 shoppers; today there are more than 1,000 sellers and 25,000 shoppers each week—amounting to more than 1 million shoppers per year. Sunday is the busiest day, with more than 750 sellers and 10,000 shoppers.

R.I.P. KOBEY
Monte Kobey died in 1989 from the AIDS virus, contracted from a blood transfusion during heart surgery.

PASSING THE BATON
Kobey’s daughter, Kimberly Kobey-Pretto, took over the business from her father and has served as president and CEO of The Kobey Corporation since 1988.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

Fall Arts Preview 2015-2016

Let us entertain you! Here are the hottest shows and acts from the upcoming season

The Hot List

Must-see Exhibits & Shows

Arts at a Glance

Our offensively basic look at the year ahead
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Farm to Fable
    Deception, fraud, and honest mistakes in the farm-to-table movement
  2. Best of San Diego in Pictures
    A look at the stories behind 15 of our favorite images
  3. FIRST LOOK: Bracero
    The hottest thing in San Diego food right now is Mexico. And there is no chef more primed to show what Baja can do than Javier Plascencia. Take a first look at his new spot in San Diego, Bracero Cocina De Raiz.
  4. FIRST LOOK: Cafe Gratitude
    Healthy gourmet is the future. L.A.'s Cafe Gratitude has become one of the breakout stars of the movement. They open their first San Diego location in Little Italy this week. San Diego Mag unveils the first photos...
  5. San Diego Summer Guide 2015: From A to Z
    Here’s our guide to buying the right tickets, getting the good seats, eating the best tacos, drinking the best cocktails, and more
  6. Easy Road Trips: On the Road
    Make it home in time for sunset! These three destinations are a just a scenic day trip away from San Diego
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Go Ahead... Ask McMillin!

At McMillin Realty, we are encouraging you to bring us your real estate questions. We will answer these questions….. for free.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

Everything is Just Two Wheels Away

Get ready to GO by BIKE!

Go Ahead... Ask McMillin!

At McMillin Realty, we are encouraging you to bring us your real estate questions. We will answer these questions….. for free.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags