Scoring the Studemont Kroger

SCORING THE STUDEMONT KROGER The blogger grocery store reviews are in! Or at least one of them, for the just-opened Kroger south of the Heights at 1440 Studemont. Former Stop & Shop cashier Viula finds helpful price scanners, a few extremely wide aisles (and a few especially narrow ones), some discolored lettuces, some very shy salsa, and strange logic in the organization of orange and orange-y juices:Not life shattering or even really news worthy outside of the fact that I am writing about what a disorganized mess this supermarket seemed to be,” she writes. “But it’s counter-intuitive and makes a mundane task more frustrating than it should be.” In sum, she pronounces: “Eh.” Next up — if anyone publishes one — blogger reviews of the Kroger’s same-opening-day neighbor, the new Washington Heights Walmart? [The Heights Life; previously on Swamplot] Photo: The Heights Life

25 Comment

  • I went to the Wal-mart on Saturday. Really happy with it so far, although the challenge will be if they can keep it as neat, tidy, and organized as it is now over the long haul.

  • Walmart is likely much more orderly in it’s organization. They sell on volume and low price.

    Grocery stores have to employ more marketing gimmicks and trickery to get you to buy. They purposefully make it confusing so you spend more time and more money.

  • kjb434,

    My experience going to Wal-Marts in less desirable parts of town is that they often get disorderly and the stocking starts getting thrown together. I think a lot of that is up to management and customer expectations, so hopefully being in a relatively nice part of town means it’ll stay well put together.

  • Don’t base your opinion of a store on the ramblings of a bored housewife.

  • We checked out the new Kroger over the weekend. It’s nicer than most, but still just Kroger in selections and quality, which is to say – average.

    WalMart sells groceries by the $billions, but it’s not a grocery store for us. The selections of most everything is severely limited for the things we buy; we want a choice of more than 10 cheeses, a real bakery, a real butcher, and a real seafood department. We don’t buy much processed or packaged foods, so the “deals” on those things have no value for us. We also find the quality of the things they do have to be undesirable; I don’t want to spend ten minutes looking for a pint of strawberries without mold – like on my last trip to a WalMart.

    The worst part of the WalMart experience has been the mess of the actual stores; from the parking lots to the aisles to the check stands; and the lack of customer service. The $billions they make seem definitely not be funneled into maintenance or training except in stores located in places like Plano.

    So, we stick with HEB, Central Market, and occasionally Whole Foods, or Kroger for basics. Obviously, millions love WalMart; more power to them, but it’s simply not for us. I guess I can sit back and wait to be called an elite yuppie snob or some such. WalMart shoppers seem to be awfully insecure and get upset if you don’t agree with where they choose to shop. Strange.

  • Given Viula’s complaints that a Kroger was being built on that site, did anyone expect any higher rating than ‘Eh’?

  • … and don’t base your opinions of a “housewife” on a random internet troll

  • Jon: Perfect post. No reason to suggest you’re a snob as you stated simply that WalMart isn’t for you — yet more power to those that like it. I wish more had that attitude.
    I don’t have much desire to go to walmart but I do know it helps a lot of people. If it didn’t, they’d go away and the people who didn’t like WalMart wouldn’t need to put signs in their yards.

  • @Jon
    Thank you for putting in to words what I feel about Wal-Mart! Sure, they’re cheaper on some paper goods, but I’m not sure it’s worth the trip when the food (produce, meat, seafood) selection is so limited and/or past it’s prime. I’m happy to pay a little extra for quality in those areas. I was quite pleased, though, when we went there on Sat morning (my husband’s curiosity got the better of him). It was the cleanest Wal-Mart I’ve ever seen. I almost didn’t know where I was until the stray dog in the parking lot brought me back to reality. The neighborhood is so much improved, that the value of those town homes across the street and right on the railroad tracks may have gone up by a couple thousand dollars….or maybe not.

  • they didnt organize it like HEB and put items in middle of aisle to knock over. I love throwing elbows at their Organic wheat thins display. lol

  • well said Jon!

  • Jon: “WalMart shoppers seem to be awfully insecure and get upset if you don’t agree with where they choose to shop.”

    It’s just another sign of the Zombie Apocalypse.

  • A lot of people who shop at Walmart don’t really love it. They have no, or very limited, other choices because Walmart has run any mid-range options out of business. This was the case in the rural town in Western Mass. where I lived for several years in grad school. I shopped there because it was that or drive 30 miles in the snow and over a mountain to get what I needed. It’s not an issue in a city like Houston, but it is a real thing in smaller markets.

    I haven’t been in a Walmart since I moved.

  • I checked out the “party” Kroger this weekend and was similarly unimpressed. The store felt very similar to the 11th street Kroger in terms of layout and ambiance. I went in open minded, but my shopping experience did nothing to change my mind that HEB reigns supreme. I’ll continue to make the weekly trek out to Bunker Hill for the fresh produce, great selection of craft beer, clean aisles, reasonable prices, and no stupid store card (even though I carry a Kroger card in my wallet just in case I need to run in for one or two items).

    No, I’m not the goofy HEB spokesman (although I did see him the last time I was there).

  • Now is probably the only time you’ll ever be sure the food at this new Walmart is fresh. I’ve heard too many stories about Walmart restocking food that has been moved from the refrigerated section to some other part of the store (presumably by consumers who are trying to budget as they shop) and being returned to stock for me to feel comfortable buying food there.

  • @Lurker: I know some people who live in the townhouses in the area. I can tell you that there has been absolutely no appreciation in the value of their homes as a result of the Walmart going in. I know a few who have had to sell because they were relocated by work and a few that are trying to sell because they do not want to live next to Walmart. Even though they had units selling for $200-250k (which are very scarce inside the loop), they had a very hard time selling and had to take a loss. Sure, the townhouse market is not one for a lot of appreciation, but Walmart certainly did not do anything for their property values.
    @cody: Walmart does not help anyone except for its shareholders. The idea that Walmart has amazing low prices that are a godsend to low income folks has been debunked numerous times. Just take $20 to Walmart and $20 to Canino’s and see what kind of produce you can bring home.

  • The grocery selection at the new WalMart near me is too narrow and the veggie section is pretty dismal.

  • dbhouston- I’m not a housewife and the only thing I’m bored by is your comment.

    Dave- I do think the new Kroger is a poor use of a huge parcel of land (with 2 other Krogers with in a couple miles, plus a Walmart, plus a Target with groceries). This part of town is over-saturated with mediocre grocery options. However, this would be most convenient store to my home so I was honestly hoping it would be a big step up from 11th St. It just isn’t.

  • It baffles me that there are people out there who have so little to do but blog about a grocery store.

  • I decided to boycott this store when I heard that the only reason Kroeger purchased this site is because HEB showed interest in the location. I am hoping.g this is one too many Kroegers and it will end up a HEB

  • I love that there are people passionate enough about their neighborhood to take the time to write and share their stories and opinion. I am happy with the tiny 20th st Kroger for a quick few things. I am sad that Fiesta is leaving Studewood. And I have yet to trek to Trader Joe’s but i am a big fan from my days in Ca. I have no desire to visit Wallmart…the few times i have in other locations, it was stuff that looked like stuff but no quality. I do most of my shopping at Whole Foods and yes it is expensive but i get super quality and find the things i want. I would use Caninos more if they had organic veggies and an assurance of no pesticides. I have an auto immune disease and that dictates what i can eat, so happy to have choices. I like the little farmers market around town that Urban Harvest hosts and if you are creative you can find some great deals. My next step is to grow some of my own food. Have you noticed the Heights is a target for selling food…between the grocery stores and the restaurants : )we certainly won’t starve!!!

  • “Dave- I do think the new Kroger is a poor use of a huge parcel of land (with 2 other Krogers with in a couple miles, plus a Walmart, plus a Target with groceries). This part of town is over-saturated with mediocre grocery options.”

    Well, I am glad to hear that I quoted you correctly. It is also my closest store, and I am happy with it. But, then, I am rather easy to please.

    Your lament that this area is saturated with mediocre grocery options should tell you (and others) something. Despite the claims of many, the demographics of the Heights are…shall we say…mediocre. Both Kroger and Walmart are extremely large corporations (#1 and #2 grocers) with very good demographic analysts. They are both here for a reason. Similarly, it is possible that HEB abandoned the Heights for a reason. The number of actual high income residents is not that large in comparison to lower income households within and surrounding the Greater Heights area. Rather than blame Walmart and Kroger for moving here, perhaps HEB should be blamed for moving away, or the neighbors should be blamed for limiting the ability of high income families to build larger homes. But, I’ll guarantee that Walmart and Kroger know us better than we know…or imagine…ourselves.

  • I went with a friend to the WalMart in The Woodlands, The friggin Woodlands mind you and it was horrible. Walmart seems to take great joy in building stores with 50 check out lanes and then actually staffing only 5 of them. I mean, what is that?

    I have to admit I was running up and down the aisles amazed at how cheap the cheap junk was. It’s pretty darn cheap and even good quality “health” products are less expensive.

    My same friend would always be amazed at the produce in Montrose, particularly at the Montrose Fiesta now closed. He said that it was horrible in The Woodlands, like they never saw a real vegetable.

    I’m not a fan and will probably stay away, I’m over Kroger, I hate the new HEB, Trader Joe’s was underwhelming. Maybe I just hate to grocery shop!

  • @Dave: HEB didn’t “abandon the Heights” due to the results of demographic research–they were actually deep into contract negotiations with Ainbinder for the Walmart site, had drawn up site plans and intended on long-term leasing their parcel. While those negotiations were being finalized, Ainbinder was back dealing with Walmart who offered to purchase the land outright, no lease. Ainbinder would have made more profit with HEB in the long run, but went with money in his pocket in the short term. HEB was broadsided. Kroger was already looking at the Studewood site to compete with HEB. HEB is now looking at sites just south of downtown, where grocery stores are actually needed.
    The Heights has enough tax base to support sustainable, mixed-use development. Instead, the City hands out tax reimbursements to build suburban big-box, cheap-fast-easy developments that like to donate to Mayoral campaigns.

  • What tax dollars is the City handing out to Ainbinder? You can’t possibly mean the 380 agreement, where Ainbinder has paid out upwards of $6 million that will be recovered from taxes that they would have paid in the future.

    I also want to know how any of you think you could have forced your vaunted “mixed use” crap developments on the Ainbinder parcel. It’s not like Houston has any planning rules that allow that. Get over it.