LUBBOCK, Texas — Times certainly have changed in the grocery aisle, and so have the prices and places to shop. H-E-B has officially opened its Lubbock store’s doors, and United broke ground on a 12th Lubbock location.
With over 20 grocery stores in the area and at least two more in the works, Lubbock’s grocery business is booming.
“From a population standpoint, we all need our groceries and need to eat. So obviously, we’re going to continue to see grocery store growth,” said John Osborne, President and CEO of the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance.
According to LEDA, over the last two decades, Lubbock has seen over 10% population growth with 7% growth projected for the hub city over the next five years. That growing population is a huge factor in what has encouraged stores to move in and expand.
“We’ve been wanting to come to Lubbock for many years now. The timing was just right to where we believe that the growth around the area would be able to support one of our stores. We’re just lucky enough that the community has been able to welcome us as well as they have,” Lubbock H-E-B’s Top Store Leader, Garrett Stauder.
But it isn’t just the population that is determining the grocery boom but where that population is expanding too.
“Where there’s a tremendous amount of rooftops, especially where those rooftops are growing and growing and going in, our grocery store, developers are looking at where those rooftops are being planned for over the next decade, and trying to strategize on how to get a grocery store into a high population area.
“I think as you start to see that 98, street hundred and 114th, 130th. As those become more developed, you’ll see grocery stores popping up all along there,” said Osborne.
There are currently nine grocery stores within a two-mile radius of 98th and Slide. Including three Wal-Marts, a United, A Market Street, H-E-B, Food King, Sprouts and Natural Grocers.
And that number will only grow when United opens up their newest location at 114th and Slide.
“Look, there’s a lot of growth right out there a lot, a lot of new homes going up, schools continue to grow out there as well,” President and CEO of United Family, Sidney Hopper.
But with this new growth and expansion comes new competition.
“The way we view that is that competition is good. Competition is gonna make us all better. You know, I think what some people probably didn’t realize is that uh, we already do business in communities with H-E-B today. We have stores in Midland, Odessa, San Angelo and Abilene, as well as they do,” said Hopper.
Both United and H-E-B are excited to be working together for the community.
“I think we have a great competition, a great array of competition across Lubbock, and we just want to continue to partner them to best serve our communities,” said Stauder.
While some of that competition is driven by reputation, price is also a big factor for shoppers.
“Grocery stores–they’re trying to convey a certain thing about their price. Sometimes it’s like new Nieman Marcus. And they are trying to convey that they’ve got the best quality and exclusiveness. And therefore, their price is much higher, but they’re willing to go with that higher model.
“Whereas you’ve got other stores that are competing on a price point and basically trying to convince you that there is no better, more affordable place to shop than their particular store,” said Osborne.
But while prices may differ both united and H-E-B say they are committed to our growing community. United donated over $1 million a year to Lubbock, while H-E-B served over 300,000 meals to the state.
“Our motto has always been that we want to treat you like they treat some family or a guest in our home, we want to make sure that anything that you need while you’re in our store that we’re going to take care of you,” said Hopper.
But both say as long as the community keeps growing, they plan to grow with it.
“A wise man once told me that as long as the community’s growing,” said Hopper. “We need to build one more store just to be able to take care of everybody.”