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

Three Generations of Women Resist the State in 'The Madres'

1970s Argentina takes center stage in Moxie Theatre’s powerful world premiere play

Inside the Icon: Lifeguard Tower 5C

It has one of the best views in San Diego—and has been crucial to lifesaving in Coronado for over 80 years

Inside a San Diego Home with Southern Charm

A young family puts personal touches on a turnkey home in Santaluz
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Vote Now for San Diego's Best Restaurants 2018
    From burritos to bottomless mimosas, you choose San Diego’s best eats and drinks in 90 categories
  2. Personal Stories are on Display at the Museum of Man's 'PostSecret'
    Frank Warren collects deep, dark secrets for this community arts project
  3. The Best Burgers in San Diego
    These burgers are food critic Troy Johnson's finalists for the best in San Diego
  4. The Best of North County 2018
    Our annual list of what we’re loving above the 56, from bites and brews to shopping, wellness, and arts and kids’ activities galore
  5. Has Anything Really Changed Since Ballast Point Sold to Constellation?
    More than two years after the acquisition, misinformation and misunderstanding still abound
  6. Your 2018 San Diego Summer Bucket List
    Here’s our insider’s guide for Memorial Day through Labor Day
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Vote Now for Your Orangetheory Winner!

Winners will be announced at our Sweat event on May 12

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

AquaVie: 10 Reasons It’s Downtown’s Best Kept Secret

The best workout and spa getaway around? It’s actually right underneath your nose.

Enter a Drawing You Could Actually Win

There are more than 1,700 prizes in the Dream House Raffle
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags