Howdy, folks, and welcome back to HHR. Today we’re taking a preliminary look at Houston’s newest supermarket chain, GFS. The stores were established in the late 70s by Gordon Food Service, a wholesaler looking to move into the consumer space. The chain was initially quite spartan but has grown to compete with modern grocers.GFS stores are known for prominently featuring their house-branded products for good prices. They also feature wholesale and retail size packs without a membership requirement. More recently, the stores have added limited service departments, including a deli with pre-sliced meats and cheeses, along with cold sides and flavored popcorn.
GFS entered Houston through the 2014 purchase of the Glazier Foods distribution company. These new stores represent GFS’ further push South, except for a small collection of locations in Flordia after a 2003 purchase of a distribution company there. My experience with GFS comes from encounters in the Midwest, where they were a common supplier and had plentiful locations. Their older stores are more dedicated to wholesaling and less directed to consumers. However, as of the past few years, it appears that GFS is remodeling its older locations to take on the hybrid approach being used here in Houston. So far, the chain is working on six stores throughout town.
- 5151 Antoine Dr, Houston, TX 77092
- 12533 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77077
- 13817 Breck Street Houston, TX 77069
- 649 S Mason Rd Katy, TX 77450
- 215 W. Main St League City, TX 77573
- 5300 N Braeswood Blvd, Houston, TX 77096
In Houston, GFS will have quite a bevy of competition. Their locations mostly avoid areas strongly claimed by traditional grocers or even other wholesalers. The combination of wholesaler and grocer does provide them a unique edge in that they don’t require a membership. While there is no shortage of consumer-level Sam’s customers in Houston, their target of non-wholesale dense areas will likely bring in customers who do not have club memberships. While all this works in GFS’ favor, we, as Houstonians, know that one thing for sure will determine their fate, prices. Some locations are currently hiring, expect the first stores to open in early 2023.