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Fiesta Market Place closing

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That's too bad, let's try to figure out why.

 

The last big suburban expansion was in the early 1990s, and two of those have already fallen years ago: the Webster Fiesta, which had the hydroponic garden (a huge draw but horrifically expensive to maintain), and the Katy Freeway Fiesta, which might have survived had the freeway knocked out a chunk of parking.

 

One answer could be "it was losing money hand over fist" but I think it tried to go for the wrong angle--Fiesta is known for cheap produce, and this store had overpriced organics. The other problem was that by this time, the suburban ideas went away and Fiesta's Hispanic foods angle became more entrenched. Thus the need for a new logo and name when going into Sugar Land to reduce culture shock. The other thing was perhaps the store was too small. Even the Katy Freeway one was 80k square feet, but the new store was around 40k, far smaller than the local Kroger or H-E-B, or even Fiesta's sister stores in the urban areas.

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I visited this location once. Didn't see anything that made me want to come back.

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Besides offering fro-yo and the only location of Caribou Coffee in Houston (if not Texas), what was there that H-E-B or Kroger couldn't? Probably nothing. It was almost as if they were afraid to rebrand it as a regular Fiesta (Katy, TX has a "regular" Fiesta that opened in the mid-2000s)

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It's worth noting that the new one in Conroe is branded as "Fiesta Fresh Market" as it's incredibly small--22k square feet, which is "Food Lion/HEB Pantry" level small.

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Or because the name still works for the company. Donald Bonham and O.C. Mendenhall were the founders of Fiesta. Not Hispanic... but I don't know if they were Jewish. The people who founded Grocers Supply were Russian Jews, and Grocers Supply bought Fiesta.

 

Jews own Fiesta anyway...they just use the name to appeal to hispanics

 

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Sadly the Fiesta store was no different then the Gerlands store it replaced and even it couldn't survive. (I heard the Strip Center management increased the rent so high Gerlands had to close). Perhaps an HEB pantry could occupy the the space. It wouldn't be very profitable but they are a big enough organization they could absorb the costs. Will be interesting to see what occupy s the space. 

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I've seen abandoned grocery stores converted into WhirlyBall venues. If you've never played, check it out:

 

http://www.whirlyball.com/home/index.php

Those are typically found in low-rent buildings: On 290, I've seen old Krogers (one of which was originally an AppleTree/Safeway) converted into a trampoline place or an indoor go-kart track (an old Kmart in another part of town is also an indoor go kart track these days). I imagine a "fancy" grocery store could use the space that uses less square feet on average: Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, etc.

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Jews own Fiesta anyway...they just use the name to appeal to hispanics

 

Now why is that not offensive?

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Fiesta's page for the store is still up for the moment.

 

When I was living in the area, this was my go-to place for groceries in the dead of night when it was a Gerland's. Quiet, clean, and the people were actually cool. The fact that they regularly left the samples out in the bakery counter overnight - and they were still in decent shape - played a bit of a role too. Don't judge me.

 

And it was about the closest place I could find the Houston Business Journal on a regular basis. That went fast some weeks though.

 

When I came back to visit in the recent past I had heard about the change to this special Fiesta brand and it just seemed a bit odd. Never really felt compelled to visit it though. My hometown has had a Fiesta since the 70s, and I wasn't looking for a "hip" or modern version of the experience, so it's not too much of a surprise this one fell flat.

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When this opened I kind of had the feeling it wouldn't do well even if the Chron article boasted about it, the store didn't seem right. I realized this when I noticed the modified fiesta logo which wasn't a bad one. I believe the locals associated the store with disorder and low end food even if it wasn't the case for this specific one, I guess Fiesta wasn't able to step out of the Latin American image it created for itself.

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When this opened I kind of had the feeling it wouldn't do well even if the Chron article boasted about it, the store didn't seem right. I realized this when I noticed the modified fiesta logo which wasn't a bad one. I believe the locals associated the store with disorder and low end food even if it wasn't the case for this specific one, I guess Fiesta wasn't able to step out of the Latin American image it created for itself.

Eh--probably more complicated.

Like mentioned before, the last big suburban expansion was in the early 1990s, and none of them were really looked down upon, at least in the beginning. The Webster Fiesta was huge and the hydroponic garden was a massive draw. Well, it went first after it became obvious that the garden was destroying profitability, the Katy Freeway Fiesta could've survived, but the freeway destroyed the parking lot, and the Willowbrook Fiesta is still alive and well.

The image Fiesta created was not Latin American specifically, but the fact that around the time of the closure of the hydroponic Fiesta, Fiesta picked up a handful of old AppleTree stores--stores that were already pretty dated in the late 1980s, and did practically nothing to the interior or décor.

This combined with the fact that there was no effort to expand to the suburbs but trend toward the more diverse areas in other cities cemented that image. So that's Problem #1. But it wasn't a deal breaker because of...

Problem #2: The Sugar Land Fiesta tried too hard to be different. If you look at the reviews at Yelp, you'll notice more people disappointed to what other Fiesta stores had and this one didn't to the things that they DID add. People seem to be unhappy at the high price of produce, for instance.

Problem #3: The rent was probably too high.

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