HEB holds a special place in the heart of many Texans, but Heights residents have long grumbled about the state of our small, outdated store, known for poor selection and sometimes sub-par produce. It looks like the beloved Texas-native grocery chain might finally be doing something about it. Rumor has it that HEB is in talks to buy a plot of land at the intersection of Studewood and Washington and build a new, large store there. It’s unknown if the rumored new store will replace the one on TC Jester and 19th Street or operate in addition to the existing store.
One of the issues complicating the placement of a new HEB store is the existence of a large dry zone in the Heights where alcohol sales are not permitted. Restaurants and bars can get around this fairly easily by offering membership cards to any patron who orders a drink and calling the business a “private club,” but grocery stores have no such workaround available. The inability to sell alcohol is part of what led to the Fiesta grocery store on Shepherd Drive to close, allegedly. HEB is not looking to open a new store in a location where they would be unable to sell alcohol, which is one of the highest-margin departments in any grocery store.
The size of available lots has also made things difficult for HEB to open a new location in the Heights. In order to fit in adequate parking and a store large enough to offer the fresh tortillas, sushi counter, butcher, seafood market, bakery, and deli counters that HEB customers have come to expect in new stores, the lot needs to be at least six acres, and there just aren’t a lot of places in the Heights where one can find a lot that size without crossing into the dry zone.
HEB’s public affairs coordinator Cyndy Garza-Roberts is careful to clarify that no contracts have been signed yet. The store is also considering locations in Garden Oaks/Oak Forest, in addition to the Washington location. Wherever it ends up going, we can’t wait to check out the bigger, better HEB!
For more information, please visit: http://swamplot.com/h-e-b-scoping-out-its-options-in-the-heights/2016-03-17/