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H-E-B's mid-county crisis; Aldi shops for Palmer site - The Galveston County Daily News : Blogs

July 30, 2014

H-E-B's mid-county crisis; Aldi shops for Palmer site

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Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2014 4:56 pm | Updated: 5:46 pm, Thu Jan 23, 2014.

Readers are ringing up all kinds of supermarket speculation about grocer H-E-B and its plans in mid-county cities La Marque and Texas City.

Meanwhile, discount grocer Aldi reportedly is scouting sites in Texas City.

First, let's talk about H-E-B. Rumor has it the grocer is planning to build a store near Gulf Greyhound Park in La Marque.

But such speculation raises questions about H-E-B’s long stalled plans for its 87,237-square-foot store in Palmer Shopping Center in Texas City. The San Antonio-based grocer acquired the center, just east of state Highway 146 and north of Palmer Highway, more than two years ago.

H-E-B officials have been mum about plans for Palmer Shopping Center, but some insiders reported the company was planning a Joe V’s Smart Shop, a no-frills format known for low prices.

Others have speculated H-E-B would build a Mi Tienda, Spanish for “My Store,” which offers products favored by Hispanic shoppers, at the site.

Rumors H-E-B plans to open a new store in La Marque also raises questions about the fate of H-E-B’s existing Texas City store, which is at 918 21st St. N. 

But H-E-B officials still aren’t elaborating about Texas City or La Marque rumors.

“Currently, there are no plans for either location,” Cyndy Garza Roberts, director of public affairs for H-E-B, said.

Interestingly, Texas City Mayor Matt Doyle, who rarely minces words, said he’d be fine with H-E-B opening a larger store with freeway visibility in La Marque, and shutting down the store in his city.

“They need to close that piece of junk in Texas City and open something that’s not deplorable,” Doyle said.

Doyle's thoughts have been echoed by mainland and island residents. Mid-county residents want a bigger H-E-B and some islanders want the grocer to return. H-E-B departed Galveston after Hurricane Ike in 2008.

While H-E-B hasn't opened any new concepts in Texas City, La Marque or Galveston, it has wasted no time in planning a second store for League City.

Should islanders and mid-county residents feel snubbed?  

Meanwhile, in other grocery gossip, discounter Aldi is considering opening a store in the former City Café site at 33rd Street and Palmer Highway in Texas City.

No-frills Aldi sells only about 1,400 of the fastest-moving products, mostly under its private label and for prices 50 percent less than traditional supermarkets. Aldi credits efficiency for low pricing.

The grocer eliminates overhead cost by such practices as a cart rental system through which shoppers insert a quarter to release a cart and receive the quarter back upon the cart’s return.

Other cost-saving practices include a smaller store footprint, open carton displays and encouraging customers to bring their own bags. Stay tuned.

Would you welcome an Aldi in Texas City?