A look into Houston's retail past

H-E-B Pantry Foods

H-E-B Pantry Foods

H-E-B is a familiar name to just about anyone in Texas. The company operates 4 separate grocery store brands (Central Market, Joe V’s Smart Shop, Mi Tienda, and H-E-B) with locations in 4 out of the 5 largest metroplexes in the state, sorry El Paso. H-E-B even has extensive operations throughout Northeastern and Central Mexico. However, a grandiose expansion was not exactly how H-E-B entered the Houston market. With roots in the Hill Country town of Kerrville, Texas. Initial expansion of H-E-B was slow and limited to small towns around the headquarters. Throughout the 20th century HEB would increase their presence in smaller and rural communities, along with San Antonio. At the time larger cities, like Dallas and Austin faced fierce competition from mostly from huge out of state chains. Houston was no exception and by the 1980s are the three most dominant chains in Houston were Kroger, Safeway, and Randall’s.

 

After braving markets far outside their home territory H-E-B began a slow crawl up the Gulf Coast into Houston, starting slowly from the successful Corpus Christi market. To test the new Houston market a cost saving measure was made to open a few “Pantry Foods” locations in older disused grocery stores. The Houston area had plenty of these thanks to the respective bankruptcies of Safeway/AppleTree. As many of these stores were pushing 30 years old space was limited. As such Pantry Foods banner did not carry as much stock compared to other grocery stores of the time. There were no specialty shops such as a Deli, Bakery, Butcher, or Pharmacy. The variety of items was quite low, shelf space was usually reserved for one name brand item, and one generic. There was little staff outside of the stockers and cashiers, if a product wasn’t out on the shelf to be sold, it wasn’t available. The number of items in the store was also dropped limiting variety. These ideas helped to keep costs down with the end goal of introducing H-E-B to the Houston area, as a serious competitor against chains like Kroger, and Albertsons.

Photo Credit: Loopnet.com

The plan of attack was simple, H-E-B would start from the small towns around Houston abandoned by closing Safeways and use that to build. Throughout the early 90s multiple stores were opened around Houston and in the suburbs surrounding the area. By the mid 90s development had moved within the loop. The stores in the Houston Metro area were generally a little bit bigger than their more rural counterparts. Again, this was due to reusing old stores and living with whatever choices that first company had made.


Photo Source: HoustonTvNews (Deleted)

By the end of the decade H-E-B had become an established name in Houston. They were seen as a smaller and somewhat scrappier competitor, but their prices kept customers coming back. In 2000 H-E-B Corporate offices announced that all Pantry Foods locations would be either converted to full H-E-B locations or closed. With the grocery expansion Wal-Mart had undertaken, and the GM expansions many grocery stores undertook, Pantry Foods began to seem a bit quaint. The lack of space and selection began to hurt the company as many shoppers moved to “One Stop Shop” grocery stores such as, Kroger Signature, Walmart Supercenter, and even Randall’s Flagship. By 2002 the company was closing their final Pantry Foods locations.

Photo Credits: HebPantry.com

For the most part the locations were either replaced by new builds or remodeled and expanded, with only a few closing permanently. At the same time, H-E-B began a huge push into Houston. Many locations which never had Pantry Foods locations gained new H-E-B’s. With many shopping center orienting themselves around the huge new stores. The Pantry Foods experiment only lasted about 10 years. Some stores did survive, simply dropping the Pantry Foods banner. Some of these locations received small updates, and new products. However, they’re still quite limited compared to most other grocery stores.

Photo Gallery

Location List

Store Number
Address
Notes
304435 Uvalde Rd Houston, TX 77015Pantry Foods: 1992-2004, Was not replaced by a full line store.
Originally a Weingarten, Then Safeway Budget Store, Did not become AppleTree, Now a dd's Discounts
3051033 Bay Area Blvd Clear Lake, Webster, TX 77062Pantry Foods: 1992-2001, Moved to former Albertsons in 2002.
Originally a Eagle Discount Supermarket, Then Pyburn's Farm Fresh Foods, Then Super Warehouse Foods, Now Specs
3064980 Hwy 6 N Houston, TX 77084Pantry Foods: 1992-2002, Replaced by Bear Creek location
Originally an Eagle Discount Supermarket, Then Kingsaver, Now 99 Cent Only Stores
3072211 Southmore Ave Pasadena, TX 77502Pantry Foods: 1993-2004, Replaced by Mi Tienda in former Albertsons.
Originally a Kroger, Then Phil's Hometown Food, Now subdivided mostly El Ahorro Supermarket
30822618 Aldine Westfield Rd Spring, TX 77373Pantry Foods: 1992-2017, Replaced by Joe V's.
Originally a Rice Food Market, Now a Dollar Tree
3095815 Antoine Dr Houston, TX 77091Pantry Foods: 1992-2003, Built as Pantry Foods, expanded prior to closing.
Now Harris Co. Annex 38
31013730 Cypress North Houston Rd Cypress, TX 77429Pantry Foods: 1992-2004, Built as Pantry Foods.
Now Hunting Specialty Supplies (Drilling Supplies?)
3115320 FM 1765 Texas City, TX 77591Pantry Foods: 1992-2003, Went unreplaced until new La Marque store opened.
Originally a Weingarten, sold to Newman's, Now Food-Rite Market (Independent grocer)
3152226 Shaver St Pasadena, TX 77502Pantry Foods: 1992-2002, Replaced by Mi Tienda, location never expanded.
Later 99 Cent Only Stores Now Gala Event Center
3169510 Beechnut St Houston, TX 77036Pantry Foods: 1992-2002, Built as Pantry Foods, Replaced by Beltway/Beechnut location.
Now subdivided between Gol Bar and Dollar City
31715707 Bellaire Blvd Houston, TX 77083Pantry Foods: 1992-2002, Built as Pantry Foods, Replaced by Presidio Square location.
Now Cubesmart
31828520 Tomball Pkwy Tomball, TX 77375Pantry Foods: 1992-2003, Originally used Safeway building which was demolished and rebuilt in 2004.
Originally Safeway, then AppleTree sold to HEB in 1992
31912900 Aldine Westfield Rd Houston, TX 77039Pantry Foods: 1992-2012, Replaced by Joe V's. Location was expanded.
Now Dollar Tree and smaller stores
3208440 Bissonnet St Houston, TX 77074Pantry Foods: 1992-2002, Built as Pantry Foods, Room left for expansion but never used, Closed when Beechnut/Beltway location opened.
Now Southwest Schools - Elementary Campus
32112638 Bissonnet St Houston, TX 77099Pantry Foods: 1992-2002, Replaced by Presidio Square location.
Originally a Safeway, Did not become AppleTree, Now Pakistani Community Center
3225417 S Braeswood Blvd Houston, TX 77096Pantry Foods: 1992-2018, Closed after Hurricane Harvey, did not reopen due to Meyerland Plaza store.
Originally a Rice Food Market, Now vacant
323215 W Main St League City, TX 77573Originally a Kroger, HEB 1995-2002, Now Palais Royal
326115 W Parkwood Ave Friendswood, TX 7754Converted into smaller shops (most of parking displaced by bank)
3283131 Campbell Rd Houston, TX 77080Built 1994, Closed around 2004, Now an HEB production facility for prepared foods.
32911616 Beamer Rd Houston, TX 77089Built 1992, Closed around 2006, Now CubeSmart
33011940 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX 77077Originally a Continental Finer Foods, Then Minimax, Then Jumbo, Then Sak-n-Save, HEB Now a Sprouts Farmers Market
331301 W 11th St. Houston TX 77008Originally a Lucky-Seven, Torn down, HEB 1993-? Demolished for Regions Bank
3351050 Federal Rd Houston, TX 77015Currently Sellers Bros., former Safeway...may not have been AppleTree
33712550 Bammel North Houston Rd Houston, TX 77066Now a campus for Vistas High School (Klein ISD)
3384703 Lexington Blvd Missouri City, TX 77459Now Embody Fitness Center, facade still intact.
3497308 Louetta Rd Spring, TX 77379Rebuilt with new store directly behind it
3525130 Cedar St Bellaire, TX 77401Opened April 1994 as per outside plaque. Demolished in 2016 for replacement store
3621550 S Mason Rd Katy, TX 77450Now a 24 hour Fitness Sport location
36411700 Bellaire Blvd Houston, TX 77072Now Bellaire Auto Parts
36511320 Chimney Rock Rd Houston, TX 77035Now a 99 Cent Only Store
3696102 Scott St Houston, TX 77021"Upgraded" Closed 2019 after replacement
4351511 W 18th St Houston, TX 77008Opened August 1997 as per outside plaque, closed in 2019 due to replacement
436216 FM 1960 Humble, TX 7733899 Cents Only Store
4372000 Bayport Blvd Seabrook, TX 77586Palais Royal
4385104 Harrisburg Blvd Houston, TX 77011Now an AutoZone and other stores.
4395450 Airline Dr Houston, TX 77076King Dollar
4401414 Wirt Rd Houston, TX 77055Now the Trini Mendenhall Community Center. Originally a Safeway.
4421011 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX 77006Now a Half Price Books
4566960 Barker Cypress Rd Houston, TX 77084After sitting vacant for many years, this location was finally converted into a Planet Fitness Speciality location further investigation needed
4607994 Bellfort St Houston, TX 77061Now Northern Tool + Equipment
4699215 West Rd Houston, TX 77064Split between a Goodwill and Dollar Tree
47021155 Tomball Pkwy Houston, TX 77070Now a Stein Mart
47114540 Memorial Dr Houston, TX 77079Closed 2018 to become an delivery distribution center
4921550 Fry Rd Houston, TX 77084Permits filed as a Pantry Foods, opened as a full HEB. Still Open
3106 Quail Valley Dr Missouri City, TX 77489Pantry Foods: 1992-1993? Replaced by Missouri City Store.
Originally Eagle Discount Alternate Address 2404 Cartwright
13201 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77083Pantry Foods:1992-1993? My Hoa Market
Stores outside the Houston area
121180 S 11th St Beaumont, TX 77701Goodwill
15909 S Sam Houston Ave Huntsville, TX 77340
171239 E Mulberry St Angleton, TX 77515Still Open
213601 Center St Deer Park, TX 77536Building existed prior to 1990s, was likely built as a Safeway.
2314670 FM 2100 Crosby, TX 77532Crosby ISD Transportation Building
3375 N Major Dr Beaumont, TX 77707Storage Spot
352424 N 16th St Orange, TX 77630Still open
44320 S Twin City Hwy Nederland, TX 77627Home Surplus Outlet
535000 32nd St Groves, TX 77619Still Open
592026 Texas Avenue South College Station, TX 77840Open as H-E-B Pantry 1991-2002, later Gattitown (2003-2012), now DSW (2013-)
621905 Old Hearne Rd Bryan, TX 77803Replacement store built almost directly next to it in 2011, original store torn down
733930 E Lucas Dr Beaumont, TX 77706vacant
863401 Gulfway Dr Port Arthur, TX 77642Still Open
116819 S Main St Lumberton, TX 77657Still Open
1182031 Texas Ave Bryan, TX 77802Harmony Science Academy
2562105 Milam St Columbus, TX 789Still Open
257100 Truly PLZ Cleveland, TX 77327Still Open
2611502 W Cameron Ave Rockdale, TX 76567Former Safeway, closed without replacement in 2005 (no mention of "Pantry" signage)
266420 E Gibson St Jasper, TX 75951Harbor Freight Tools
267918 21st St N Texas City, TX 77590Relocated 2015, empty.
271110 E Brazos Ave West Columbia, TX 77486Still Open
2773216 E Broadway St Pearland, TX 77581Later Athletic Dreams, now Forgotten Angels Resale Shop
2781021 N Main St Liberty, TX 77575Vacant, but not before becoming "Thrif-Tee Food Center"
279410 Plantation Dr Lake Jackson, TX 77566Closed
2832200 N Main St Baytown, TX 77520vacant
2866013 Stewart Rd Galveston, TX 77551Opened 1990 (former Safeway), closed 2008 after Ike, now Odyssey Academy
2871035 E Loop 304 Crockett, TX 75835Still Open
288207 E South St Alvin, TX 77511Still Open
29720 Porterwood Vlg Porter, TX 77365Now a Goodwill
303130 Sawdust Rd, Spring, TX 77380Still Open Originally a Safeway Superstore 1980-1987
326115 W Parkwood Ave Friendswood, TX 7754Converted into smaller shops (most of parking displaced by bank)
3367130 FM 1960 Humble, TX 7734699 Cents Only Store
3391509 W Church St Livingston, TX 77351Still Open
3484206 Avenue T Santa Fe, TX 77510Still Open
351301 N Wells St Edna, TX 77957Still Open
355201 W Gonzales St Yoakum, TX 77995Still Open
3584431 Nelson Rd Lake Charles, LA 70605Opened 1996 (acquired from Delchamps) and closed 2003 (later became Market Basket)
3602108 N Frazier St Conroe, TX 77301Still Open
3681161 N Esplanade St Cuero, TX 77954Closed After 2013
416450 E Travis St La Grange, TX 78945Still Open
417424 St Matthew St Gonzales, TX 78629Still Open
4571305 Tenaha St Center, TX 75938Currently vacant; Originally Safeway later part of U Save Foods
458419 Texas Loop 436 Carthage, TX 75633Open; Originally a Safeway, branched off with U Save Foods.
459412 N Timberland Dr Lufkin, TX 75901Still Open

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