Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail. Today, we’re checking out the shopping experience of a Gordon Food Service Store. HHR initially broke the news that GFS was planning to enter the Houston market almost one year ago. We’ve been following the development since then, finally getting official word from the company itself on their opening dates (speaking of which, if you’re a business that would like to have your story covered, reach out to HHR). After covering this story for months, it is exciting to see GFS finally arrive. Despite how you feel about the chain, it is nice to see new competition in Houston. For the most part, we’ve seen the extreme end of specialty grocers, like The Fresh Market or Sprouts. While GFS is more focused on wholesale, it is still a general grocer for the most part. While I wouldn’t do a weekly shop for myself at GFS, I could see it being advantageous for families. Today we’ll be checking out the GFS at Westheimer and Dairy Ashford (which, by the way, is not in the old Randall’s, but rather the former Goodwill/Petsmart.
One thing that surprised me at GFS was the variety of “regular groceries” these locations carry. I have been to the chain once before in Ohio, at a relatively older location. It lacked many fresh grocery options and mainly focused on frozen foods and bulk supplies. There is not only more fresh grocery selection in Houston but more options overall. A negative strike against GFS for many seems to be the price. Compared to other grocers, prices on non-GFS items are closer to Randall’s and Kroger than Walmart or HEB. I have seen some people comparing the bulk prices at a GFS store with buying from wholesale suppliers directly. It should be noted that the prices at GFS reflect a few things, like the fact that items are available without any membership and are purchased. I asked HHR Contributor billytheskink, who also visited the same location, what his thoughts were
“As a nearby resident and a guy with a family to feed, my initial impression is that I probably won’t find myself there too often as the bulk offerings are generally more business and restaurant-oriented than general consumer-oriented. Even so, there are some interesting offerings that may get me in the door from time to time, particularly the well-stocked meat department, the front of store specials on pre-made items, and some competitively priced rotisserie chicken. I might also be back for the 2000 count box of Sweet ‘N Low…“
Overall my impression is mixed, I think GFS can find a market in Houston, especially if they continue to target areas with poor representation by Sam’s and Costco. However, I’m unsure if the target market of “big families” is as big as GFS hopes for. If nothing else, I’d recommend you stop and check one out. They’re interesting stores, and the candy-coated popcorn is really good!