H-E-B Tailors New Store to Demographic Niche

Jul 22, 2002

The Houston Business Journal reports that H-E-B is continuing a trend of tailoring itself to the markets it serves with plans to open a new store in far southwest Houston designed to cater to its predominantly African-American and Hispanic residents. The store will be the only major grocery retailer in the area. It is scheduled to open in the spring of 2003.

Features include a full line of specialized African-American and Houston-based products such as Frenchy’s, Glory Foods, and Sylvia’s, as well as an extensive selection of personal hair care products. The store also will feature an on-site Tortilleria, making fresh tortillas daily. In addition, it will offer a large selection of H-E-B’s own line of meats, ice cream and detergent.

The 68,000-square-foot grocery facility will employ 250 people from the surrounding communities and will be serviced by Unity National Bank, the only African-American owned bank in Houston.

H-E-B opened a similar store in the predominantly Hispanic East End in June. That store also caters to the local community, offering a Mexican made-from-scratch bakery, medicinal herbs and a variety of products imported from Mexico.

Moderator Comment: Do the benefits of store-specific
product selection and merchandising outweigh the costs associated with its implementation?

One size does not fit all. We’ve seen the results in
Memphis, Chicago, and elsewhere when large chains have acquired local chains
and done away with the local flavor in the process. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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