Stripped: Heights Kroger Knocks Its Neighbors

A reader sends in photos from the southwest corner of North Shepherd and 11th St., where the Kroger is getting ready to expand into the site of a few vanquished neighbors:

the gas station that was in front of the kroger was demolished earlier this year and within the past couple weeks part of the strip center next to the kroger has started to be demolished. I called the kroger last week and the lady on the phone informed me that they are expanding and the store is going to be very nice – will have a starbucks, sushi bar, salad bar, etc and a kroger gas station will be built where the gas station was demolished. heights area residents can’t wait!!


The site of that once and future gas station:

More exciting scenes of strip-center carnage:

Photos: Swamplot inbox

62 Comment

  • From what I understand they have been quietly letting those other units fall empty for some time. The expanded Kroger is allegedly going to have a significantly expanded organics/gourmet section as well as all that other stuff. The Heights rumor mill is suggesting that the expanded store will be one the largest Kroger’s in the South West. From what I’m told that store is already one of their biggest revenue earners so it makes sense that they would try to expand.

  • A grocer finally hears the call! YEA!!! When will it be done?

  • According to one of their leasing reps, the store will be 85,000 sf. That is HUGE and very exciting. Hopefully this investment will motivate them to clean up the store/parking lot a bit!

  • Why would Kroger want to invest in such a dumpy area of the city? Yes, the Heights is unique, cool, & pricey. But it is still a rat infested, messican harboring, drug haven part of town. Kroger should be revamping their Echo Ln store to compete with the Katy Frwy HEB

  • Thanks Tom. For making a nice blog where we mostly act like adults and treat each other with respect into a Rush-like platform for your venom. We don’t speak snake here.

  • Once Kroger upgrades its 11th Street store, it will own the market (no pun intended). If it were to try to compete with the already established HEB, it would, at best, split the market. Good business decision and one appreciated by the Heights and other surrounding ‘hoods.

  • I live 10 blocks from this Kroger and stopped going there due to the fact that it smells like urine when you walk in/out the entrance. The produce/dairy/bakery items are always older and go bad quickly. (Plus on weekends, you are accosted by the Girl Scount Cookie Mafia.) I never understood why they labeled it a “Signature” Kroger.
    I’ll go back if it’s all fixed up and cleaned. Until then, I am going to the Kroger in Garden Oaks. At least there, the bread isn’t stale by the time you get home.

  • I remember when the HEB on 11th St. at Rutland sent me a card announcing their “renovation.” I was so excited. I immediately went over. They had painted a few walls but the iceboxes were still rusted, the floors were still worn and dirty and the place was just plain dinghy! It closed like two weeks later.

  • I go to this store all the time and your nose Cleo must be messed up.

    There is an HEB nearby but it is a Pantry store and is pretty much a dump.

    This has been planned for the better part of two years.

    HAIF has a whole thread on it. If you want an idea of what this store will be like, go to the one on Buffalo Speedway.

    They definitely need to expand since this store gets very crowded. The aisle are actually smaller than what new grocery stores typically used.


    This area has changed very much and it’s nice to see Kroger staying in the area and revitalizing the old shopping center.

    Ross renovated the one on the north side of 11th.

    I’m guessing the corner entrance will disappear also and it will turn into the standard Kroger entrance.

  • Well that’s just great – now that I know where everything is in that store they’re going to expand it and move it all around.

  • kjb…where you been?

  • I have to agree with kjb on the smell front, I’ve never noticed it. That Kroger, and the Shepherd corridor in general, attracts people from a broad range of socio-economic backgrounds and that’s fine with me. If I wanted to live in a neighborhood surrounded only by people like me I would move. I am hoping that this investment will lead to more along the Shepherd corridor. More of the car lots are closing and there is a lot of real estate there just itching to be built on.

    In terms of why they are developing it Tom I have one word for you, profit. That store already makes Kroger a lot of money even though it is not currently catering to the newer, and mostly wealthier, immigrants to the Heights. By expanding the store to cover that market, and by not having to compete with Randalls or HEB there they are probably predicting they will make a killing.

  • EMME,

    I’ve busy all weekend and rushed at work this morning.

    I’ve been watching the comments on the other threads through my phone though.

    Jimbo is spot on though. This store has a really broad slice of customers which I find makes it a great place to shop. On top of that I find the current staff is quite pleasing to deal with. Of course they will have to hire several new people for the expanded store. Hopefully some staff will be promoted and the new people will continue the same spirit of the current staff.

    Also, the new layout will have to accommodate the fact that this store will be wider than it is deep. So I don’t know if that will just mean more aisles or a new configuration. I’ve seen some crazy supermarket layouts before. The worst in my opinion is the Central Market on Westheimer.

  • This store is aggravating to shop in. It’s close by, but a dingy, poorly run store. When it was newly remodeled and turned into a “Signature” store some years ago, it was cutting edge for Kroger.

    Now, with the demographics of the neighborhood able to support a much more expensive store, Kroger will now dominate the Heights grocery market. This should help to pull some potential Heights shoppers from the Central Market and Whole Foods.

    On another note….Emme, you obviously don’t have a very accurate perspective as to what Rush Limbaugh really stands for if you equate him to the racist statements made above in the thread.

  • No kidding houstonre, that’s like 1.95 acres. I’ll have to take a nap after walking across the store!

  • My “rush” comparison was in the hateful rant, not the content of the hateful rant.

  • CK – I agree with the statements regarding Rush, but I disagree about this store.

    I like this store because it’s close and I know the times to go when they aren’t busy to do my monthly re-stocking shopping.

    For quick trips I make sure all my items are easy to do self check out.

    I’m actually surprised no other major retail attempt to enter the Height market. There are 4 other stores in the greater area, but they much to be desired.

    There is the other Kroger near Yale and 20th (is it still open?). I never look at it when I drive by and I wouldn’t shop in it either.
    There is an HEB Pantry and Foodarama at W TC Jester and 18th/Ella. I typically don’t go to these. Never liked HEB Pantry and haven’t attempted to go into Foodarama.
    Then there is the Fiesta on Studewood. I’ve been there when I had pick up some last minute stuff for a party. Not a bad store, it wasn’t busy. As mentioned on here, the land owner is putting the land for sale. Don’t know the future of Fiesta there.

    There are different places in the area, but Kroger will be the only one that will offer the most choices within the store itself.

    Also, there is always Target. They don’t offer any fresh foods except for bread and milk, but I can’t say I haven’t picked up a bunch of food items there when I go in for something else.

  • In defense of the funky old Kroger at 20th & Yale: I was able to get in and out with real live fruits & veggies in 20 minutes the Wednesday morning after Ike when the lines at the Kroger on 43rd were still wrapped around the side of the store. I will always look upon it with affection after that (and never take lettuce for granted again).

  • I shop at the Kroger on 20th. It is dinghy, but I don’t think it is dirty. Just old and needs updating. It is closer to me, but once 11th St. is renovated, I will probably opt to go there more often.

    Sorry if my Rush comments offended. I am just not a fan.

  • kjb, you forgot the Fiesta on Shepherd. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I really like it since they refurbed. Plus I can get a decent lunch on my way out of the door after shopping.

  • OOPs, I rarely go north of 20th on Shepherd and it total escaped me.

    My point does stand that there is a lot of choice in the area. Kroger won’t be monopolizing anything. What Kroger does generally offer to many customers is familiarity.

    When I moved to Houston in 2002, I never heard of Randall’s or HEB. I heard of Kroger from being a national brand, but we don’t have them Louisiana. I actually shopped at the SuperK-Mart and Wal-mart at Dunvale when I first moved to Houston. Yes, the infamous K-Mart where the roundup of all the teenagers occurred.

    Then when I moved to the Upper Kirby area I had Randall’s or Kroger. Kroger was by far cheaper. I don’t go to Whole Foods. It’s isn’t worth the money just like Central Market.

    Now living in the Cottage Grove area, Kroger and Target are my two primary choices. I actually like HEB. Shop there when I go to New Braunfels for a weekend of tubing. It would be nice to have a new HEB in the area. The are a little cheaper on some things and don’t have the silly card to get discounts.

  • I used to love Randall’s. They really invested in their staff and gave them customer service training. They were always so helpful and nice. And the stores were kept immaculately clean. Then Safeway bought them and down they went.

    KJB: there are a lot of options in the area, but I hear over and over again, that they are only options by lack of anything to actually choose. I think if Kroger does a good job renovating they can own the market.

  • A neighbor of mine (we live about 3 blocks from there) spoke to someone with the strip center and was told there was also going to be a 24 Hour Fitness crammed in there. Not sure if this is true, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

  • I’ve never noticed a smell at this Kroger. However, I have noticed their lack of a produce department and poor selection throughout (mostly due to lack of space). I’m looking forward to the new Kroger and maybe the new store store can even attract some nice tenants (eg maybe a good restaurant?) to some of the the other locations in the strip center. I mean, has anyone ever really shopped at that Radio Shack?

  • I haven’t heard about the 24hr Fitness, but it makes some sense.

    The nearest ones are on 290 at Bingle, Post Oak, Midtown, and maybe Katy Frwy outside the loop?

    24hr fitness has been known to go into old shopping centers and building to open new facilities. The one on 290 at Bingle was an old Academy Sports when Academy moved and remodeled another shopping center.

  • Oh biggerintexas, I have gone to that particular Radioshack 4 times in the last 4 years I lived in the area.

    The rule of thumb for going to Radioshack: if you absolutely can’t find a wire or connections for audio/video, phone, or computer network; they will have it. If you need it now and know exactly what you want, they will have it.

  • Well, kjb, good to know someone is keeping that store in business. But I’m still going to hope maybe a rejuvenated strip center can attract a decent restaurant. There aren’t many options in this corner of the Heights (my apologies to Golden Island). I won’t complain about a 24hr Fitness either, if that rumor is true.

  • For those who think the Kroger is mediocre now, you should have seen it before the last renovation circa 1996. It was grim, and looked like it hadn’t seen maintenance since about 1960. I remember going to the grand reopening – it was a place of beauty compared to what we had before.

    If they have decent bagels, I’ll be pretty happy. There isn’t a decent bagel to be had North of I-10 right now, unless something has opened recently.

  • I hang my head in shame. I have shopped that Radio Shack. Got my transmitter radio there for the storm when everybody else was out.

  • I recently was in south western Ohio – where Kroger is headquartered and went to one of their newest concept stores. It was huge and even sold home furnishings – more like a Super Target/Walmart. As the primary supermarket in a town of 40,000 it is making money hand over foot. If that is what we are going to be getting – I’ll probably give up on shopping at Whole Foods. That store is incredible and would be very viable in the Heights.

  • Don’t apologize to Golden Island. I’m not going to criticize for the quality of the food. It’s buffet and there is an expectation of what you get. The problem with Golden Island is that it is just plain unclean.

    I went there once and reluctantly went there a second time. Both times I have actually filed a complaint with the city health department. First time I sat near the window where you can see a line of ants coming out of a crack and walk on the carpet towards where they keep tea and water to refill for the customers. The second time I didn’t even eat there because I noticed roaches running around near the booth seating along the wall.

    I’m guessing the expanded Kroger will and potentially the 24hr fitness (if true) will help raise the rents in the place so that some of the shops leave.

  • The key word here is “buffet”. There is only one city that does buffet well and that is Vegas. Asian food of any type is particularly poorly suited to buffet service as it absolutely needs to go straight from the kitchen to the mouth to be good. And now I shall get down off my snobby high horse again.

  • Here is a link to a Kroger Marketplace – what I mentioned previously.

  • I’m going to cross some fingers to get one of those, but I’ll still be happy to get a Kroger on the scale of the one on Buffalo Speeday @ Westpark.

    Also, does anyone know if the gas station replacement will be a Kroger gas station? I hope it is, because I’m losing this discounts since the nearest Kroger with a gas station is outside the beltway.

  • I am a totally loyal cusomter of the hot mom kroger in river oaks. I live like 5 blocks away so it just makes sense. However, I used to work on 19th street a few years ago and something like this is totally necessary. Before Crickets opened up, if we wanted coffee we either had to go the gas station way or drive into river oaks or montrose. Heck, if their organic section is as good as they say it will be, I might make a switch in stores.

  • The River Oaks is like a gay lite Kroger and the one on Montrose is the full blown Disco Kroger along with the Disco Walgreen across the street.

    Both are fairly cramped stores that potentially need to be remodeled in the future. I’m happy the 11th St one is going first. HAHA

    Also, it’s important to note that starbucks facilities within grocery stores are not held to the same standard as the Starbucks stores. The employees behind the counter at a grocery store is an employee of the store. It’s the reason the selection is much smaller. They aren’t trained on much more than what the small selection that is offered. Starbucks in books stores like Barnes and Nobles are the real thing if they have a completely separated coffee shop (i.e. you have to go through a door).

  • Kyle you really should venture into the Foodarama on 18th. They get half the business of that dumpy HEB across the street from it and the store is twice as clean with helpful employees. I do most of my cheapie grocery shopping there. If you go in the daytime during the week, the old timey cashiers are about as accomodating and helpful as you can imagine. It’s almost like you are transported back to the 60’s.

    On the Golden Island Boofay in the Kroger strip center, back when I dared actually eat there, we referred to the place as “diarrhea express”. You were almost guaranteed to go through a “cleansing” shortly after returning from lunch. For some reason, that was most likely tied to a lack of cleanliness at the restaurant. I’m surprised some of their entrees didn’t meow from time to time.

  • Thanks for the advice on the Foodarama. They way you explain it reminds me of a store back in my college town called Country Market. It was a helluva lot cheaper than the Albertson’s, Super 1 Foods, and the Wal-Mart. I get the sales paper for the Foodarama and it looks just like the Country Market.
    I’ll have to stop by one day. I usually pass by it all the time.

  • Screw Golden Island – eat at Dragon Bowl (11th just east of Shepherd)! I hesitated to write that because I enjoy being able to get a table right away. However, I want DB to stay in business so I can keep eating that delicious wasabi tuna dish.
    Also, Tom Byron – the Echo Lane Kroger has already been revamped for the Hispanic community in YOUR neighborhood:

  • Shhhh….DB is busy enough as it is. I’ve had to wait 30 min for take-out the last few times.

  • She shoots…she SCORES!

    “Also, Tom Byron – the Echo Lane Kroger has already been revamped for the Hispanic community in YOUR neighborhood”

  • Cleo may be exaggerating just a little (or maybe not?). The urine stink was strong in the pet supplies – paper towels – frozen food area, though it has been less intense on recent visits. The smell made me think they were selling already-used kitty litter.

  • kjb434, Kroger on Voss & Westheimer(?) has a gas station. Sure, its not the most convenient (if you have no reason to be in the area), but it is inside the loop.

    Glad to hear that they are updating the Kreepy Kroger (I’ve seen arrests, fights, weirdos almost everytime I’ve been there). Makes me wonder if they will close the 20th st location.

    “Disco Kroger” is tame and wonderful compared to the way it was in the 80’s-90’s.

    Fry’s stores in Arizona were superstores (like Walmart, but nicer) and a part of the Kroger’s family. I hope we get something like that. You could buy ANYTHING there.

    I think the Heights will have to wait a few years (after the 2010 census #s are out) before there is a huge onslaught of national chains hitting the area. Billboards might actually be in English soon. (I will miss my daily Spanish lessons)

    And, has anyone been in the “Runny Food Store” at the opposite end of the center from the 11th St Kroger?

  • If it is so important to refer to Kroger West Gray being “gay lite” and Kroger Montrose being “disco Kroger” then let’s go ahead and call Kroger 11th Street exactly what it is—“Hoi Polloi North”.

  • Don’t take offense to the term “Disco Kroger” and “Gay-Lite Kroger”. I didn’t make them up and they are used quite common within the gay community which I’m apart of.

    The “Hoi Polloi” Kroger would be the one on Buffalo Speedway way before the one on 11th St will be. As long as the 11th St Kroger keeps it extremely broad slice of customers that shop there, it may be better termed “Diversity” Kroger.

  • Hilarious comments here.
    @lildebbie THAT was awesome.
    @kjn434 “Diversity Kroger” is hilarious… and accurate
    @niki.7 “hot mom kroger” is the way I see it. The surgically remanufactured MILF level is very high there.

  • Yeah I got a kick outta the hot mom Kroger line. I’ll actually shop there before the 11th street (BTW, the strip center is called Merchants Park) Kroger.

  • “Don’t take offense to the term “Disco Kroger” and “Gay-Lite Kroger”. I didn’t make them up and they are used quite common within the gay community which I’m apart of.”

    When I lived in West Hollywood, my local supermarket was Ralph’s, a big chain in California, and my local Ralph’s on Sunset was known universally as “Rock n Roll Ralph’s” because it was the place all the hipsters went to after the clubs closed down. (Needless to say, if you could wait until 2 am to do your grocery shopping, you could see some astonishing people there.)

  • OK, on that vein, I got one for you…. for years we’ve referred to shopping at HEB as “shoppin at da HEEB”. It doesn’t really make any sense, but it stuck years ago.

  • Of course, you know, HEB’s funny one is really built in and has never been used, HEB stands for H.E. Butt!

  • Yes I know that.

    Oh, and BTW… Justguessin, the last time I checked, Voss and Westheimer were not “inside the loop” and that Kroger is at San Felipe and Voss, which unfortunately, is still well outside the loop.

  • Produce, Meat, Deli, Bakery, Floral, Natural Foods (organic section) all get moved to the new area. Much bigger departments than what the store currently has. The new gas station will be Kroger (actually the closest Kroger gas station is on Wirt and Westview). It won’t be a Marketplace – this store needs all the room for food.

  • “Hoi Polloi” doesn’t actually refer to the snobbish elite; it’s greek for “the people”, and means exactly the opposite of what most folks assume it means. Given the breadth of the market segment this store serves, however, it’s probably not a bad moniker.

  • Yes, but “hoi polloi” is usually meant in a derogatory sense.

  • When i can I always try to shop at the HEB on 18th, although not great looking I have my reasons. I like the Butt guy because during Hurricane Ike HEB was out giving water and ice to everyone across houston, they partnered with the city at their selected disbursement locations. HE Butt is a Texan first and a business man second and that’s what’s missing from national chains. Where were Kroger and Randalls. I didn’t see Central Market out there handing out Fiji water. I dunno, just something to think about. Instead of wondering about coffee and organic inventories we can try to support those who support us.

  • That’s a good point. Kroger on 11th kept loading trucks of ice to send to FEMA stations when our neighborhoods were completely without power. How does that make sense?

    A side note: Central Market is owned by HEB.

  • This post has been an interesting read. It is fun to find out what is happening with that shopping center, and also what outsiders are saying about our neighborhood. Admittedly, the 11th Steet Kroger parking lot has attracted it’s fair share of immigrant workers, but the same can be said for all of Shepherd from 610 all the way to Memorial. Despite the current economic climate, homes within a few streets of this store in Timbergrove and the Heights have seen values skyrocket in the last two years, with almost all new construction (particularly in Timbergrove, where townhomes aren’t allowed) well over the $600k mark. This explains the need for the expanded, nicer Kroger facility at this location. It was a wise investment by the company.

  • Oh… and people who shop at the Disco Kroger in Montrose are commonly referred to as “Kroghurls.” No offence taken.

  • There are some companies (HEB) that donates and runs ads to let everyone know what they did. Then there are other companies (Kroger) that also gave truckloads and ice and said nothing about it. Not to mention the $$$ Kroger gives through their Share Card program.
    Another thing to think about … when Galveston needed help most, one company (Kroger) opened their store four days after the storm hit which had to take a lot of effort. Another company (HEB) announced they would not spend the $$$ to reopen their store.

  • I agree with Heights 11 years…I really admire anybody that humbly and silently serves the community without expectation of return. But even those that advertise tehir good deeds, well at least they did good deeds.

  • Funny how kmillan in post 56 praised HEB for giving out water during IKE and bashed Kroger, Randall’s, and Central Market for not doing so. FYI, Central Market is HEB.