Supermarket Shake-Ups in the Heights

The Greater Heights has experienced two major changes within the grocery market over the past few weeks. The San Antonio-based chain H-E-B opened a new 92,000 square-foot store on North Shepherd at 23rd Street at the end of January. Over on the eastside of the Heights. the most notable vendor at the Houston Farmers Market, Canino Produce Co.,  closed after 60+ years in business.

The new H-E-B in the Heights

Heights H-E-B

Designed by award-winning Selser Schaefer Architects, the new H-E-B is one of only two multilevel locations in the city. The striking exterior will draw you in but the services offered will keep you coming back. A full selection of H-E-B’s Meal Simple kits, fresh-prepared sushi, juices and guacamole made in-store, scratch bakery and tortilleria, live cooking demonstrations and bulk health food are a few of the highlights. Located at 2300 North Shepherd Drive, this new development is just part of the growth the Shepherd corridor has experienced over the last five years.

Image c/o Houston Public Media

1912 Ordinance

In 2016, H-E-B announced the possibility of a new Heights location. The development depended on whether Houston voters would overturn a 1912 ordinance. For over 100 years, this ordinance prohibited beer and wine sales for off-premise consumption in the dry portion of the Heights. The Houston Heights Beverage Coalition campaigned to change the rule, while the Keep the Heights Dry political action committee fought against. The repeal was passed with over 60 percent of the vote, allowing H-E-B (and other grocers) the ability to sell wine and beer and move forward with the proposed Heights location.

Canino’s, 1983. Image c/o EJ Deering, Houston Chronicle.

Canino Produce Co. Closes

The old H-E-B on 18th Street closed its doors on January 29 in anticipation of the new location. A few miles east, another closing occurred that left a stronger impact on the community. Last month, Canino Produce Company. ceased operations after 60 years in business. An anchor of the Heights based Houston Farmers Market, Canino Produce has leased market space since 1958. Even before Canino Produce Co. was established by Joe Canino Jr., his father, Joe Canino Sr., had been selling the family’s harvest since 1942, when the market first opened. The company remained a family business throughout its tenure. Co-owner, Bill Canino, and his brother-in-law, Lawrence Pilkinton, have both approached their 70s and this factor played a huge role in the decision to close. Bill told ABC13:

“I’m tired, and he’s tired. It’s as simple as that.”

Bill Canino, co-owner of Canino Produce Co. Image c/o K.Warren Houston Chronicle

Changes Ahead

Canino’s closing is part of the broader changes underway for the Houston Farmers Market. In 2017, MLB Capital Partners purchased the market with plans to create “a destination retail experience offering more diversified products, renovated facilities, and community programming.” As MLB works to finalize designs and obtain permit approvals from the City of Houston, the market continues the day-to-day operations. The new owners’ development team said it would build in phases to keep the market’s cash flow going and attempt to retain tenants for the new market. The space formerly occupied by Canino’s already has a new vendor, Junior’s Produce, which opened to the public February 9th.

Renderings from MLB Capital Partners.

Time Will Tell

As Houston continues to change, for the better and sometimes, for the worse, we’re hopeful about MLB Capital Partners’ redevelopment. Other buyers could have turned the area into retail or office space. We will keep shopping at the Houston Farmers Market (you should to)! Based on the neighborhood’s reception, the new Heights H-E-B appears to be a better change for Houston. Only time will tell.

Want to move closer to these new changes? One of Circa Real Estate‘s agents would be happy to assist!


featured image c/o K.Warren, Houston Chronicle. social media image c/o Manready Mercantile.