The Fresh Market grocery store that opened across Weslayan from Central Market at 3745 Westheimer Rd. last August will be shut down within a week or 2. The national chain galloped into the Houston area last year by moving into 4 former locations of Rice Epicurean. The company cited “meaningful profitability hurdles” in announcing the single-store closure, along with the closure of 3 additional locations in California. Still alive, apparently: plans to open a store at 1519 West Bay Area Blvd. in Webster this year.
- Fresh Market to close Houston location [Houston Business Journal]
- Previously on Swamplot: The West University Fresh Market, Stacking Up, Rice Epicurean Giving Up the Groceries, Leasing 4 Locations to Fresh Market
Photo: John W.
Central Market Wins Again
To come in and spend all that money to refurbish the Rice space, then pull out so quickly tells me that they either had no idea what they were doing, or were incompetent in doing it. Or maybe they were sold a bill of goods by the Rice Epi people? It doesn’t make sense at all.
So their strategy of opening stores adjacent to extremely successful competitors is failing?
Maybe because they don’t have anything “normal” there. couldn’t find shell pasta, but they had every kind of specialty pasta under the sun. Want regular yellow mustard? too bad, you’ll have to choose between 7 super fancy ones.
i don’t understand these stores. i went to the one near me on holcombe and it sucked. it’s better than most gas station c-stores, but barely
I didn’t understand these stores either. They appeared to be going for some kind of luxurious experience, but despite the apparent spaciousness of the stores, the shelves didn’t have a whole lot of selection. Luxury for the food buyer means an unending variety of everything (the more artisanal the better), not stained wood fixtures and Mozart muzak.
Funny you should mention that, I live nearby too and never think to go into that Fresh Market, instead driving right on by to the Whole Foods at Wesleyan and Bellaire.
I guess I was the only person who really like this place. Better quality produce than I’ve found anywhere in town, things generally a bit cheaper than Central Market or Whole Foods, and it wasn’t ever the madhouse that either of those are on a Saturday. I like the atmosphere, their prepared sandwiches… the gelato bar…
Apparently, Houston doesn’t need any more niche grocery stores inside the loop.
This was a supermarket for years–it was built as a Safeway at some point in the 1970s or 1980s, converted to AppleTree, and was sold to Rice Epicurean after AppleTree went under. Unfortunately, I can’t see a future for this building, it will likely be torn down.
I shop at the location on San Felipe and Post Oak and its always busy during lunch and in the evenings.
Oh, there’s prolly room for more niche groceries inside the Loop. There’s just not room for more than one at Westheimer and Weslayan.
I think they’ll do well in Webster. Clear Lake is desperate for some high-end groceries.
I live by the one on Holcombe and Kirby and it serves the same function for me as the Rice that was there before – when I have a last-minute grocery need I can walk there in 2 minutes and find what I need, even if it is at a premium price, but reliable quality. I like their buyer’s choices (despite the fact that they don’t carry yellow mustard) and I REALLY like the chocolate they carry. It was stupid to try the location across from Central Market, but whatevs.
Fresh Market should have relocated to the Houston Heights where we only have Kroger’s and Whole Food.
I shop at the one on Memorial about 3 times a week. Much better that Trader Joe’s in my opinion. I’m not interested in 2 buck meat.
I liked this store but I got so turned off by the quality of the staff that I stopped going.
I’m not surprised this one is doing poorly. Whenever I’ve made the trek into town to go to the CentralMarket its never looked very busy in comparison. I am looking forward to their location in Clear Lake opening. Hopefully it will have enough to offer so I don’t need to drive to CM a couple times a month, since I live out that way. Anyone know if they have something comperable to the chef’s case?
I live in the Heights and we don’t have a Whole Foods. We have a Kroger and a Kroger and another Kroger. Oh, yeah, and one Fiesta. Won’t even count that pathetic HEB on 18th.
That HEB at 18th has come a long way. Their beer selection has grown and I can get a container of Fage 2% yogurt. Not bad in a pinch and a whole lot less crowded than Kroger.
I knew i should have tried this place out.
Rice was pricey but successful and had a very loyal customer base. Bring back Rice…..or put in a normal grocery store.
I was a rgular shopper at the Rice on Westheimer and weslayen and really liked it. I do not understand why the new chain closed the store for so long to completely remodel. During that time I started going somewhere else which I became accustomed to. I did not care to start all over at a new store. I think they should have opened immediately and remodeled as they went. I am sorry for the investors. Some one should have told them about the hyper competitive Houston grocery market……remember appleTree ,Albertsons , giant foods,Safeway,handy Andy , henkepilot , A&P,, Lewis and coker and of course Rice.