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

American Heart Association Presents the Heart Ignite Award

San Diego Charity News for May 25

Neighborhood Guide: Bonita

Multicultural cuisine, horseback riding, and hiking trails—the South Bay neighborhood lives up to its beautiful name

Home: Sweet Sanctuary

At home with Extraordinary Desserts’ chef-owner Karen Krasne and her family
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Vote now: Best Restaurants 2015
    From best chefs to top tacos, you choose San Diego's best eats and drinks in 63 categories
  2. San Diego's Top 50 Trails
    From hiking the foothills to biking the beach, this is a city made for exploring outdoors. Here’s our latest, greatest checklist of trails we love—some in your own backyard
  3. The Best of North County 2015
    Our annual homage to the newest restaurants, shops, and activities keeping the region above I-56 the cool place it is—haute strip malls, million-dollar tract homes, and all!
  4. Win a 5-night Hawaiian vacation
    Win a 5-night stay for two at Halekulani
  5. FIRST LOOK: Duck Foot Brewing Co.
    Inside San Diego's first "gluten-free" craft beer operation
  6. Anthony's Out at Embarcadero?
    After 60 years, it looks like Anthony's Fish Grotto might be out in The Embarcadero. That means 31,608 square feet of prime, landmark restaurant space in San Diego is up for grabs. Our bet is...
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.

La Jolla Music Society Events

The La Jolla Music Society's 2015 Calendar
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

Win a 5-night Hawaiian vacation

Win a 5-night stay for two at Halekulani

Everything is Just Two Wheels Away

Get ready to GO by BIKE!
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags