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

Hole in One at San DIego Invitational Golf Tournament

San Diego Charity News for May 30

54 Summer Travel Ideas

Get out of town!

Home: A Midcentury Modern Soul

A couple builds their dream house on Mount Soledad
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. San Diego’s Coolest Companies
    If a job is essential, let’s make it enjoyable. Welcome to working in the 21st century
  2. The Best of North County 2016
    There’s never been a better time to experience NoCo’s charms
  3. Get Outside: 15 Outdoor Challenges
    Take your workouts to new heights and lengths with our list of San Diego’s best hikes, bike paths, and swims
  4. FIRST LOOK: Herb & Wood
    Brian Malarkey and Chris Puffer strike again in Little Italy
  5. FIRST LOOK: Liberty Public Market
    It's not Pike Place. It's not the Ferry Building. But it's the same idea.
  6. Beer Mindfulness: Do You Have Good Taste?
    A guide to understanding the flavors and off flavors in beer
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

More Than 1,300 Prizes are Ready to be Given Away

What are you waiting for? Buy your raffle ticket now

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles

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

The Inaugural Breakthrough Biomedical Philanthropy Forum

Sponsored by the Salk Institute

“Will You Marry Me”?

Sharon Jenks, CEO of 6 Degrees, on building business relationships

More Than 1,300 Prizes are Ready to be Given Away

What are you waiting for? Buy your raffle ticket now
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags