Swamplot Street Sleuths: That Other Kroger in the Heights

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  • Houston Heights: Just one lead this time, but it should be easy enough for some of you to follow up on: Now that Walgreens is busy getting ready to snuggle up to CVS with its new standalone site going up across the street, what’s going to happen to Weingarten’s Heights Plaza Shopping Center at West 20th and Yale? A reader passes on a rumor heard from an employee at Kroger: that the grocery store is going to take over the entire shopping strip — including the soon-to-be-former Walgreens and at least some of the smaller shops facing Yale. The tip arrives with this request, which we pass off to you: “Can you do some more research on that and confirm?”

Photo of Kroger, 239 W. 20th St.: Swamplot inbox

25 Comment

  • I don’t have hard evidence, but I hear just as much from some friends in commercial real estate and from workers at the Kroger on 11th st.

    From what I gather, it’ll be a Signature Kroger and the Marketplace version that is currently at 11th.

  • Wow. That’s a whole lotta Kroger.

  • I’m guessing that they could fill up the entire block, parking lot and all, with Kroger and they still wouldn’t be allowed to sell beer there.

  • I think the wet/dry line is a bit too far north for Kroger to reach beer selling paydirt. . .perhaps 22nd street?

  • Instead of trying to turn every decent inner loop Kroger into some kind of grocery palace, why not spend the first fifty cents actually CLEANING some of the other ones, starting with the one in Eastwood. Poor ole’ Kombat Kroger on Cullen, and don’t get me started on Kroghetto near Glenbrook & Garden Villas. While they are spending a ton on unnecessary upgrades on decent stores, the others can’t get the most basic capital improvements, (or a good scrubbing). I guess file it under the out-of-the-question category for ones like Kombat, where getting an even half-way decent bottle of wine that won’t make you projectile vomit like Linda Blair or simple things like ground turkey is just not in the cards. If you need chicken feet, however, we got that covered.

  • Robert,
    Kroger will outfit their stores to match the demographics of the area that they are located in. Have you looked around lately? The derogator way in which you mention chicken feet shows what type of a person you are. Bet you would never cruise around 5th ward.

  • sr is right.

    Kroger updates it’s store to the neighborhood’s changing demographic.

    The 11th st Kroger and the 20th st Kroger are in two neighborhood’s that have had massive demographic’s changes and population increases. The stores have to keep up with that pace. The Kroger at Buffalo Speedway was expanded several years ago and upgraded similar to the recent 11th rennovation. They had to compete against nearby Central Market.

    The Kroger’s robert is mentioning are in areas that have had some changes, but not the level of demographic change where it warrants a couple million dollars to rennovated and expand the store.

    Having aged tile floors and dingy store outsides doesn’t make it dirty. It’s just a little older. The people that love Fiesta would gladly tell you that just because the store is older looking doesn’t diminish why they go there. Everytime I happen to make it over to the Fiesta on Studewood I have had a pleasant experience although it isn’t brand new looking. I would think the Kroger say at Polk and Cullen is looking at it’s competition as the not too far away Fiesta and say that they don’t need to remodel yet.

    The Kroger at 20th is likely gearing up for the new HEB that is potentially going up on Yale. Residents in the Heights could easily get to both and may choose the newer HEB versus the older Kroger.

  • kjb- The idea of an HEB on Yale is hotly debated and no one has ever been able to substantiate that rumor. I spoke with the manager, Mr Ponce, at the 11th St Kroger (which is actually on Shepherd…) and he mentioned the Whole Foods on Waugh but never mentioned an HEB. If they were worried about it, I think he would have mentioned it based on the conversation we were having.

    But I agree about the Fiesta. The manager has only been there a few years and he has worked hard to get his inventory to match the “new” Heights while retaining what his long time clientele was buying. He took out the gold counter and expanded his “dine in” area. It’s dingy, yes, but it’s definitely clean and it’s affordable. The demographic I see shopping there most often these days: late 20something guys in office attire with no wedding rings on. I’ve even suggested some of my single girlfriends start getting their groceries there.

    It will be nice if Kroger puts the effort in to clean up the dumpy strip on 20th but we hardly need another version of the 11th St store so close…

  • I love the Studewood “little” Fiesta. Yes, it’s old…I consider it quaint. Old school. And the staff is nice and will try to stock what you need, just ask the manager. Though I do wish they could get more good produce. The Organic Girl stuff they carry now is great.

    I just can’t handle searching for things at the new 11th Kroger. I wonder if the 20th Kroger will be as difficult to navigate once it is redone.

  • Kroger on 11th is nice (too big though), but their deli and pre-made foods will NEVER compete with the HEB stuff. I will drive 20 min out of my way (and have to) to get HEB chicken salads, red pepper hummus and the like. Kroger’s ready to eat food is crap, but at least they have one heckuva organic section. They’re my shopping place til HEB gets moving over here.

    I would suggest that anyone who wants a Heights/Yale HEB email HEB directly and ask for one. I have. They need to know that the customer base is there waiting. Montrose won’t be any more convenient for me than Buffalo, and I skip them both and go to Bunker Hill when I just must have HEB deli goodness.

  • oh, and we should all be grateful with ANYTHING they do with the strip center. it is gross looking and any facelift will be good for the area.

  • There is something you can do to ensure that the strip center gets a facelift – shop there.

  • Two things – I was told the gold & Hello Kitty backpack sellers at the Fiesta on Studemont left because business got too bad to continue. Those vendors had been there as long as I can remember, and that is a long dang time.
    As to changing demographics and following the money, have you noticed how WalMart chooses not to serve urbanites? Nearly all their Houston stores are in the west side suburbs.

  • Just my opinion, but I think Walmart knows urban shoppers try to support quality local retailers and avoid all the cheap import junk. In towners are usually fortunate enough financially to be able do so. And I definitely don’t support Walmart’s business practices since Sam died.

  • As a nearby resident of the 20th street Kroger, all I really want is for them to update the fruit and veggie area (and get rid of those damn flies!!) and install a self-checkout isle. Everything else is fine. It’ll never be like the 11th/Shepherd Kroger or Buffalo Speedway Kroger – there’s simply not enough space (the lot really isn’t that deep). We shop at the 11th Street location most of the time, but it’s nice having the 20th location for staples and last-minute forgotten ingredients.

    That being said, I get overwhelmingly giddy when I pass by the signs for the new Whole Foods on Waugh :-)

  • Has anyone else noticed how badly it floods right in front of that strip center on 20th? With some of the rain we got 3-4 weeks ago, other nearby streets were fine, but 20th and Yale was pretty deep under water.

  • Instead of buying Wal-Mart’s cheap imports, everybody just goes to Target, Walgreens, CVS, or local store to get their cheap imports.

  • Well, Target, Walgreen’s and CVS have higher priced cheap imports. So, maybe those folks feel they are a bit more affluent.

    Besides, from what I read on another LOCAL site, there may be a Walmart coming inside the loop. And, what? On Yale!!

  • I’ll be happy if a Wal-Mart comes into the area. It means Target won’t be the only player.

  • Actually, I was talking about the urbanites who live say…EAST of downtown or maybe north or south. People who may be the most likely to need those everyday low prices.

  • I do live EAST of downtown, inside the loop, and while I realize that everyone does not have personal transportation, I get my Walmart fix at the Almeda Genoa or Pasadena Southmore store.

    And, from what I understand, those folks living north of DT will soon have a WallyWorld in Northline.

  • Glad you’re giddy about whole foods on Waugh, I personally am mortified at the thought. I live within blocks of that, and have enjoyed the fairly light traffic in the area, which is soon to change. Whole foods is fine for specialty items, but I couldn’t shop there exclusively, honestly I’d prefer an HEB (addicted to Israeli couscous). Not to mention vegans are uber neurotic and not much fun to shop with.

  • Pye et al- The point I was trying to make was that those people with the least resources, like money and a car, are pretty much excluded from the deepest discounts. This is true for Wal Mart and all the chains.

  • I have a sister who is 55 years old, never been married, self supporting and has never owned or driven a car in her life. All her working years have been spent right here in Houston.

    She manages to get to Walmart, Target, Randalls, malls, etc quite well and has done so all over town. She rides the bus.

    When folks want to get to a store, whatever/wherever it is, they will find a way.

    But, that is another thread isn’t it?

  • I apologize for the rant/hijack.

    Didn’t mean to go off topic.

    Haven’t shopped Kroger since they closed the store at Polk/Wayside.