What H-E-B Got That Kroger Don’t Got: Working All the Angles in the West U Grocery Showdown

WHAT H-E-B GOT THAT KROGER DON’T GOT: WORKING ALL THE ANGLES IN THE WEST U GROCERY SHOWDOWN Reporting live from the Battle of Buffalo Speedway, Allison Wollam scrutinizes the new Buffalo Market arsenal: “’We are based in Texas so we have certain items that we know Texans eat,’ [H-E-B Houston president] McClelland says. ‘We have an inherent advantage because we know how Texans think better than a grocer based …. anywhere else would know.’ For example, McClelland points out that H-E-B carries a brisket that can be fully cooked in 45 minutes that garnered more than $25 million in revenue for the chain last year. The grocer also offers crawfish sushi as well as Texas-shaped cheese and hamburgers.” Plus, why campus might seem a bit tighter this year: “Because parking is also limited, the grocer has reached an agreement with nearby Rice University to allow its employees and vendors to park on the campus parking lot and be shuttled to the store.” [Houston Business Journal; previously on Swamplot]

44 Comment

  • Just as I wouldn’t touch oysters on the half shell at this point I wouldn’t touch crawfish sushi simply because I also wouldn’t drink the water where the oysters or the crawfish were harvested.

    What they should have offered was a shuttle for customers.

  • Kroger cannot hold a candle to this HEB. It just does not measure up. Kroger readily admitted to me (Director of Consumer Affairs Gary Huddleston) that their remodel was planned due to the HEB entering the market, and their Re-Grand Opening the week before HEB opened was planned as well. If you looked at the Kroger parking lot on the HEB grand opening day – it was empty. And, now is still a good time to get a good parking place at Kroger, as it continues to remain fairly sparse. Who cares about their “band”…doesn’t cut it for me.

  • Enjoy your crawfish sushi.

  • I tried the salmon sushi which was great; not a crawfish fan, but thanks for the good wishes.

  • Not to mention I thorougly enjoyed the much cheaper prices.

  • HEB will continue to crush Kroger. Will be a welcome change to see Kroger smacked around for continuing to rip off the customer. Their management personnel are also arrogant, pompous jerks. Heb management are always friendly.

  • They should have built an underground parking garage like the mid-town Randalls did.

    Oh well.

  • Not all Kroger’s are the same. Smart shoppers learn to avoid the “chi-chi” Kroger’s and shop the “plain vanilla” Kroger’s. Especially the one with the markdowns on meat. And on that note, I’m off to check the markdowns of the day.

    I think the slogan is “Right price, right store.” Whether it is or not it definitely applies to one of them.

    HEB is overrated. Always has been. Smart shoppers shop around. Some things at Fiesta are lower than they are at Kroger’s. No things anywhere are lower than Kroger’s or Fiesta.

  • I think there is enough business for every store. I know for a fact that many of the things I have bought at the Kroger I shopped at are higher than what I paid for the same thing at HEB.

  • I’ll won’t half of my day and pollute the atmosphere because Dawn Dishwashing Liquid is .10 cheaper at one place vs. another. My time is worth more than saving $3.00 driving from Walgreens to Kroger to HEB to Target to Wal-Mart on a bunch of grocery/general merchandise items. Maybe I lack that thrill of a bargain gene or think the wear and tear on the car is not worth it.

  • I’m right there with you Melanie; fortunately, I don’t have to drive around and pollute the atmosphere to save money; I live right around the block from both Kroger and HEB. However, saving $3.00, to some families, is a big thing. Let’s never discount someone’s need or motive for wanting to save money. Have a good weekend.

  • I’ll won’t half of my day and pollute the atmosphere because Dawn Dishwashing Liquid is .10 cheaper at one place vs. another. My time is worth more than saving $3.00 driving from Walgreens to Kroger to HEB to Target to Wal-Mart on a bunch of grocery/general merchandise items. Maybe I lack that thrill of a bargain gene or think the wear and tear on the car is not worth it.

    Yes, but some people want to save money at all costs.

  • I said “my time” is not worth driving all over for a bargain. If someone wants to do it, let them have it.

    My experience with people who “save money at all costs” is that they, generally, are obsessive and unhappy people. Anyone who has worked retail or hospitality can attest to that.

  • Central Market has organic milk @ $4.99 gallon.

    I don’t think any other grocery beats that.

  • My experience with people who “save money at all costs” is that they, generally, are obsessive and unhappy people. Anyone who has worked retail or hospitality can attest to that.
    __________________________________________

    Not obsessive or unhappy. Just smart. And some need to save money in these times. So they will take the time to make a second stop on the way home to save a dollar or tow or three. Not all of us are successful professional types with lots of money and no time and, it seems, a pretentious attitude.

    No doubt you shop at Needless-Markup as well.

  • There is always a poster who takes a negative approach when responding. I am not sure where Melanie’s tone comes from, but it appears that she is the unhappy one. I am not sure why you have such an issue with people trying to save money whenever and wherever possible. If the economy has not affected you, as it has others, then you are very fortunate, Melanie. However, sometimes it is better to say less, especially if you cannot say anything constructive or without a bitter tone.

  • I really don’t understand all the hate around the Kroger. It’s a good grocery store – I’ll frequent both.

  • I’ve long wondered why the Heights didn’t warrant a good grocery store. It is my observation that, aside from Central Market, HEB has mostly ignored the in loop area.

    Now Kroger is going ahead with a mega expansion at 11th and Shepard which they say will be the biggest Kroger on earth. Great – now it will take me twice as long to shop.
    For speed and convenience, nothing beats the Fiesta on Studewood and 14th – they have good produce, a nice wine selection, have started carrying more organics and the music is great. But that store has a For Sale sign on it. More townhomes?

  • Central Market has organic milk @ $4.99 gallon.

    I don’t think any other grocery beats that.
    _________________________________________

    Zipped by the dairy section after I saved about $10 on meat and Kroger’s has organic milk at $4.99 a gallon. And I bet I wouldn’t have saved $10 on meat at HEB. About a 50% markdown. Some of it with a “use or freeze by” date of the 12th. And into the freezer some of it will go. “Let’s go Krogering…..”

  • Apparently, my generalization of MY EXPERIENCE hit home with you two.

    And so I should apologize for working my ass off and enjoying a few luxuries? Dust that chip off your shoulder Matt–whether I shop at NM or Goodwill is immaterial.

    I said and I repeat MY TIME (not your time or everyone else’s time)is more valuable than shopping around for smallish bargains. For all you know, I prefer to soak in a tub or play tennis or watch trash TV than go to the grocery.

    So it seems that you can go on about your meat sales and HEB rants and nobody else can express their opinion.

    Russell, you work in the discount furniture industry so your livelihood depends on people who want to save money.
    And perhaps you should follow your own advice and say nothing.

  • The Kroger across from the new HEB has Organic Milk for $2.99 in their ad as part of their grand reopening. I have to laugh about the comment about the arrogance of Kroger management. LOok at the arrogance of the HEB ads. Did you know that the BBB refused for years to admit HEB in because of misleading ads?

  • Melanie – again, no need to be so bitter. Enjoy your weekend. Healthy debate is always a good thing.

  • I said and I repeat MY TIME (not your time or everyone else’s time)is more valuable than shopping around for smallish bargains. For all you know, I prefer to soak in a tub or play tennis or watch trash TV than go to the grocery.
    ______________________________

    Well if time is more important to you than anything else why don’t you just call Rice Epicurean and just not worry about how much the groceries cost you and have them delivered? Although I bet you are one of those who does like to save a little here and there by not tipping the delivery drivers. So maybe you used to call Rice Epicurean and the drivers won’t deliver to you any more.

  • Matt you are really so clueless. First I shop at Neiman’s and now I buy groceries at Rice Epicurean. Wouldn’t it be simpler if I just backed over you in my Rolls and squashed you and your day old baked goods like the bug you are then mopped you up with an Hermes scarf?

  • People who don’t need to impress anyone drive a Bentley.

  • Matt I’d venture to say that you could show up on an ostrich or in Air Force One and I wouldn’t be impressed.

  • If I needed to impress you or anyone else obviously I would be shopping at the West U HEB and sharing my ecstasy over crawfish sushi on Swamplot.

  • Love the ostrich image, but…it’s a lovely morning for some civility. Please, dear readers?

  • Rolls, Bentley, ostrich, Air Force One. Don’t you people know that unicorn is the only way to travel?

  • I’ve been hoping for an HEB inside the loops for years. In the past, I’ve driven farther to go to HEB and avoid Kroger – HEB wins on prices (particularly for meat) and selection, at least for what I buy. Other than limited parking, this new HEB is the best I’ve ever seen.

  • I agree. This inner loop HEB is great. I like the store itself, the products and the price. I am a regular Central Market Shopper, and I get almost everything at this HEB that I can get at Central Market, and I don’t have to run to Target for non-perishibles.

  • what I was thrilled about yesterday during my adventure at the new HEB was the fresh kosher and halal meat section. That was AWESOME. No other inner-loop store has that available.

    I’m taking full credit – I was intrigued 2+ years ago when I was tagged in a phone survey for a “new grocery store” and responded to almost every question with “…well, if it had [that] AND fresh kosher meat I’d shop there almost exclusively.” heh heh heh.

    I did get a week’s worth of shopping done while drinking wine, eating cheese and snacking on cake, and all for less than what I would have spent at Kosher Kroger. Didn’t find all that I wanted (so sad, no La Martinique, no small boxes of milk for kids) but found other things that were yummy.

  • Since Kroger cares about dwellers of the inner loop by having more than a couple of stores in more than just the wealthiest areas I know Kroger is truly committed to the population of Houston by being in all neighborhoods. HEB is only interested in the “prime” locations and making headlines. Kroger has what we need and you don’t have to live somewhere “special” to shop them. They have my business 75% of the time for this reason.

  • Not true. I know of many HEB’s and HEB Pantry’s (if they are still called that) which are smaller and not in what you would call “prime” locations. Maybe you are not familiar with them. HEB is young in the Houston Market, and don’t have as many locations. Since the are building mostly new stores these days, “prime” locations must be the best places to build.

  • HEB brought two Houston traditions to the neighborhod: traffic snarls and not enough parking for the size of its store.

  • RESPOSE
    “Central Market has organic milk @ $4.99 gallon.
    I don’t think any other grocery beats that.”

    Oh really?! Last week KROGER had organic milk for $2.99

    KROGER Deals
    *Hot House on the Vine Tomatoes are only 77 cents a pound!!!!! HEB can’t beat that!
    *Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes 17 OZ. $.99 HEB can’t beat that!!
    *On Saturday KROGER will Double coupons up to a $1. Heb will not!!!
    *LETS GO KROGERING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • *LETS GO KROGERING!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ______________________

    We do, we do…

  • C’mon, let’s hear it for Randall’s! ;)

    But seriously, different grocery stores have different specialties, and while I agree that Kroger often has the best *sale* prices, I would also agree, based on my visit to the West U HEB, HEB had the best everyday prices on the items I use most often. Before this HEB opened, I would hit Central Market for organics, produce that wasn’t on sale elsewhere (they seem to have the most consistently high quality produce of the markets near me in Upper Kirby), and a few specialty items worth splurging on. Not to mention using the awesome coupons they send out to Foodie Club members (we get much of our family’s meat this way for free). I would shop Kroger for their sale items and general household groceries that CM doesn’t carry. Based on my experience at the new HEB, I will be doing my general shopping there now, but still hitting the Kroger for sales and CM for a few extras. But I think both Kroger and CM will be getting a lot less $ from me now!

    p.s. CM and Whole Foods have the most consistently low everyday price on organic milk – $4.99. Kroger’s is usually $5.99+, and Costco’s is about $10 for 3 half-gallon containers. The Kroger reopening sale price was freaky low, so low they were completely sold out by that afternoon, the first day it was available. Fortunately I remembered to grab a raincheck!

  • Randall’s prices everything as if it’s the only grocery store in town and as if everyone in town is rich.

  • It depends what you buy and where. In my experience, close to home there is a Food Town and HEB. HEB have bigger vegetable and fruit choices and is usually fresher than Food Town, but the vegies and fruit are usually more expensive at HEB. I need to go to Kroger and see what things I usually buy in any HEB and Food Town. Im sure there are some other things cheaper at Kroger than HEB and Food Town. Well it only takes to cover all your basics and plan correctly.

  • I work for Kroger. Please do not buy meat there. I have seen them grind old meat and cross contaminate beef and pork!!!

  • I love HEB! I wish they would spread more to the Heights/ Oak Forest area.. Kroger has the place monopolized!

  • HEB Buffalo Mkt. does have US raised beef-I’ll give them that.But,they also have the fastest,most inaccurate not to omit personally filthiest cashiers I’ve ever witnessed -that will get you fuming when you discover the multiple over rings after you wash their DNA off of groceries before putting them away.

  • I work for Kroger they are cheap the dont pay well they wont buy the equpment to do the job the get mad when u dont finish the job but still expect it to be done they are horrible and the union is usless they are in bed with kroger so all in all i shop at HEB Kroger will suffer the same fate as Albertson and Randalls