Jump to content

Is Randall's Going To Go Away?


Recommended Posts

It's evident just by going in their stores that something is wrong at Randall's. The one at Weslayan and Bissonet stinks to high heaven every time you walk in. And others have mentioned their lack of selection, which is true, but there are two reasons why I will never set foot in a Randall's again. One is their pricing on milk. That doesn't sound like a big deal, but when they put gallons on sale 2 for $5, they neglect to mention that you have to buy two to get the sale price. I am single and cannot buy two whole gallons at once. So I had to pay the regular $3.49 for one gallon. And when I asked (well, complained) the cashier about it, reason #2 came into play - I received perhaps the single rudest response I've ever gotten about something - "THOSE are the RULES!!!" she yelled so the whole store could hear. You can bet I walked out of that store (the Shepherd one) and vowed never to return to Randall's again. And I haven't.

Where I live, I can conveniently choose between a giant Kroger, Rice Epicurean, Whole Foods and Central Market. I do not miss the two Randall's locations I could have gone to one bit.

(My biggest complaint about the Midtown location is that, unlike other Randall's, it is not Wells Fargo-affiliated.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A source that services the grocery industry tells me that Randall's is suffering and may be re-evaluating the midtown location.

I understood that point. My point was that I thought he was suggesting that Randall's was in trouble overall, not just the Midtown location. As you can see, Subdude had information on the Shepherd location being possibly re-evaluated. So there may be several (if not all) Randall's that are being "re-evaluated". I think that Midtown is just one of them.

So I think that the store itself (especially its location) is viable, "Randall's" as an entity may not be, though.

Edited by GovernorAggie
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Randall's (and to some degree Krogers) suffer from being somewhat generic in their product offerings - that is to say, they don't have their fingers on the pulse of what people in this market want. HEB does. Also, it seems that Randall's (ie. Safeway) feels that price gouging is perfectly acceptable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's evident just by going in their stores that something is wrong at Randall's. The one at Weslayan and Bissonet stinks to high heaven every time you walk in. And others have mentioned their lack of selection, which is true, but there are two reasons why I will never set foot in a Randall's again. One is their pricing on milk. That doesn't sound like a big deal, but when they put gallons on sale 2 for $5, they neglect to mention that you have to buy two to get the sale price. I am single and cannot buy two whole gallons at once. So I had to pay the regular $3.49 for one gallon. And when I asked (well, complained) the cashier about it, reason #2 came into play - I received perhaps the single rudest response I've ever gotten about something - "THOSE are the RULES!!!" she yelled so the whole store could hear. You can bet I walked out of that store (the Shepherd one) and vowed never to return to Randall's again. And I haven't.

Where I live, I can conveniently choose between a giant Kroger, Rice Epicurean, Whole Foods and Central Market. I do not miss the two Randall's locations I could have gone to one bit.

(My biggest complaint about the Midtown location is that, unlike other Randall's, it is not Wells Fargo-affiliated.)

I wonder if you could buy the 2 gallons for $5 and then immediately take one to the customer service counter for a $2.50 refund.

Part of the problem with supermarkets in Houston (and many other cities) is that they're not really trying hard to compete against one another. What Houston needs is for one of the megamarket chains to move in. When I lived in Cincinnati (Kroger headquarters) there were two or three megamarket chains and there was fierce competition. By the time I left, every store in town from the megamarkets like Meijer to the regular supermakets like Kroger were selling milk for 99 cents a gallon just to get people in. THAT's competition, and THAT's good for the customers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's evident just by going in their stores that something is wrong at Randall's. The one at Weslayan and Bissonet stinks to high heaven every time you walk in. And others have mentioned their lack of selection, which is true, but there are two reasons why I will never set foot in a Randall's again. One is their pricing on milk. That doesn't sound like a big deal, but when they put gallons on sale 2 for $5, they neglect to mention that you have to buy two to get the sale price. I am single and cannot buy two whole gallons at once. So I had to pay the regular $3.49 for one gallon. And when I asked (well, complained) the cashier about it, reason #2 came into play - I received perhaps the single rudest response I've ever gotten about something - "THOSE are the RULES!!!" she yelled so the whole store could hear. You can bet I walked out of that store (the Shepherd one) and vowed never to return to Randall's again. And I haven't.

You should have just walked out completely empty handed, and let the rude jackass put the Milk up, thems the rules !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was recently in a Randall's at Westheimer and Gessner, at 8:30 on a Friday evening. There was almost nobody in the store, and it was kind of dark also . Not good. Add that to way-high prices on beer, anyway, and I can see they are hurting. And that's a Flagship Randall's, I believe.

I like Randall's in general, though. I've shopped there plenty, especially when I lived in Katy. But the competition is just brutal: Kroger and WalMart aren't going anywhere, and HEB is an absolute powerhouse.

We'll see. Fiesta seems to be hanging in there. They've had problems.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder if you could buy the 2 gallons for $5 and then immediately take one to the customer service counter for a $2.50 refund.

Part of the problem with supermarkets in Houston (and many other cities) is that they're not really trying hard to compete against one another. What Houston needs is for one of the megamarket chains to move in. When I lived in Cincinnati (Kroger headquarters) there were two or three megamarket chains and there was fierce competition. By the time I left, every store in town from the megamarkets like Meijer to the regular supermakets like Kroger were selling milk for 99 cents a gallon just to get people in. THAT's competition, and THAT's good for the customers.

What "megamarket chains" are you talking about? Houston is widely considered to be one of the most competitive grocery markets in the country. I'm not sure what makes you say they are "not really trying hard to compete against one another." Note that there are ways in which to compete other than loss leaders and, for that matter, price.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know from working with the Midtown Management District a few years ago that the Randall's has never been very healthy. It's not the brand -- although that has declined with the Safeway buyout and is a contributing factor -- it's the location. There just aren't enough sales at that store to offset operating costs. It's pretty well known among chains operating locally, too, so I'd think they'd avoid moving in if Randall's closed.

Whole Foods or Central Market might be viable in Midtown, but not in that location. They'd need to build a really big one -- a "destination" grocery store that could draw customers from several miles away. The Randall's vision in Midtown was to draw people from about 2 miles away, along with a bit of MetroRail traffic. It has never worked to their projections.

Essentially, Midtown/Downtown is a small town of about 10,000-11,000 people. "Upscale" grocery stores just don't work in small towns...at least I've never really seen one work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know from working with the Midtown Management District a few years ago that the Randall's has never been very healthy. It's not the brand -- although that has declined with the Safeway buyout and is a contributing factor -- it's the location. There just aren't enough sales at that store to offset operating costs. It's pretty well known among chains operating locally, too, so I'd think they'd avoid moving in if Randall's closed.

If Randall's overall is struggling and not very healthy (and I think that's pretty clearly the case), how can we really tell that this particular location's struggles are the fault of the location and not the fault of the overall Randall's struggle and management problems?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If Randall's overall is struggling and not very healthy (and I think that's pretty clearly the case), how can we really tell that this particular location's struggles are the fault of the location and not the fault of the overall Randall's struggle and management problems?

I think that that's a very valid question. ...but if I were a risk-averse grocer without a clear answer to that question, I'd be hesitant to take a gamble on that location if Randall's Midtown went belly-up.

Edited by TheNiche
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Albertsons is the major chain that left the Houston market. No one's going to come back after that. I noticed that all the stores were bought by Kroger & Randall's, but none of them reopened as Randall's.

Whole Foods isn't a replacement for a real grocery store. The ones we have in Houston are pitiful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Albertsons is the major chain that left the Houston market. No one's going to come back after that. I noticed that all the stores were bought by Kroger & Randall's, but none of them reopened as Randall's.

Whole Foods isn't a replacement for a real grocery store. The ones we have in Houston are pitiful.

Houstonians don't know how good they have it with grocery stores. Krogers, Randalls, Rice Epicureans, Whole Foods, HEBs and their Central Market, Fiesta are all decent to incredible stores.

Houston wins big time compared to the Boston grocery scene.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At the risk of being self-referential, here's what I said about Randall's in December of '04.

I agree with many of the complaints about Randall's (especially that 2/$5 milk thing!) The prices are somewhat higher than Kroger for most items. For produce, they're easily double what you'd pay at Fiesta. Even Spec's produce is cheaper, and of noticably higher quality.

In the interests of putting my money where my mouth is, I've tried to patronize the Midtown Randall's, but its shortcomings are too numerous. Hope someone else can make a go of it at that location.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Houstonians don't know how good they have it with grocery stores. Krogers, Randalls, Rice Epicureans, Whole Foods, HEBs and their Central Market, Fiesta are all decent to incredible stores.

Houston wins big time compared to the Boston grocery scene.

Also include the lower budget chains and other chains such as Gerlands Food Fair (http://www.gerlands.com/locations.htm), Davis Food City ( http://davisfoodcity.com/ ), Foodarama, Sellers Bros., and Food Town.

Edited by VicMan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whole Foods isn't a replacement for a real grocery store. The ones we have in Houston are pitiful.

I spoke with an executive with Whole Foods recently, and she said that their growth strategy is going to focus on 80,000 sq ft or larger stores - no more "little ones" like Kirby or Bellaire.

She said that means, with the exception of the one scheduled for the Eatzi's location, new stores in affluent burb areas. According to her there are NO PLANS, and I say again NO PLANS, for a store in downtown, Midtown, or anywhere near the Heights.

So, someone get that Trader Joe's letter writing campaign cranked back up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Part of the problem with supermarkets in Houston (and many other cities) is that they're not really trying hard to compete against one another.

According to Tory Gattis' op-ed piece on Sunday, Houston grocery prices are 16% lower than the national average for major metros. Sounds like competition to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I spoke with an executive with Whole Foods recently, and she said that their growth strategy is going to focus on 80,000 sq ft or larger stores - no more "little ones" like Kirby or Bellaire.

She said that means, with the exception of the one scheduled for the Eatzi's location, new stores in affluent burb areas. According to her there are NO PLANS, and I say again NO PLANS, for a store in downtown, Midtown, or anywhere near the Heights.

So, someone get that Trader Joe's letter writing campaign cranked back up.

Kingwood would be a great location for a Whole Foods.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

People are passionate about their grocery stores! Who knew...

I've never noticed Randalls to be that expensive, especially when it comes to Organic products. They beat Kroger and Whole Foods hands down when it comes to the O Organics brand. They don't have much organic produce though, which is why I make occasional trips to Whole Foods...

I certainly hope they don't close down the Midtown store, it's so convenient and always busy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What "megamarket chains" are you talking about?

Meijer and Biggs are the two hypermarkets I shopped at. There were a couple of others.

Houston is widely considered to be one of the most competitive grocery markets in the country. I'm not sure what makes you say they are "not really trying hard to compete against one another." Note that there are ways in which to compete other than loss leaders and, for that matter, price.

I was unaware that Houston's supermaket industry is considered competitive. As a consumer the only way I have to judge the competitiveness of the markets in a market is by what I see. Meijer and Biggs competed hard in both advertising and in prices. Also, as a consumer, I don't care if cheap milk is a loss leader or not. It saves me money and tastes the same whether I paid 99 cents on a loss leader or the regular price of $4.29.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I spoke with an executive with Whole Foods recently, and she said that their growth strategy is going to focus on 80,000 sq ft or larger stores - no more "little ones" like Kirby or Bellaire.

That goes hand-in-hand with what I've heard about the new Whole Foods in London. All week the BBC has been falling all over itself about the new Whole Foods (I think in Kensington or Hyde Park) that's the first in Britain. They keep going on about how "massive" it is. Bloomberg noted that this ONE STORE is expected to account for 2% of the entire chain's revenue. Though I expect some of that has to do with the exchange rate. Still, a different Bloomberg article noted that it's a sign of an economic bubble that an American chain store can sell antique vinegar to Britons at 32x the price of champagne.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I may be in the minority, or maybe Im not picky about grocery stores, but I like this Randalls. I never have to worry about a parking spot, the lines are short, I can get everything I need (basic staple items for the most part) and be out in a jiff. Its about 7 blocks from my condo so I dont have to drive far, and the store is clean - thats all I really look for in a grocery store. The prices dont seem that much higher, and If I want to buy beer or wine or liquor, I just head by Spec's warehouse on the way home.

The only minor complaint I would have would be the check-out service, but what do you expect from minimum wage employees?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I may be in the minority, or maybe Im not picky about grocery stores, but I like this Randalls. I never have to worry about a parking spot, the lines are short, I can get everything I need (basic staple items for the most part) and be out in a jiff. Its about 7 blocks from my condo so I dont have to drive far, and the store is clean - thats all I really look for in a grocery store. The prices dont seem that much higher, and If I want to buy beer or wine or liquor, I just head by Spec's warehouse on the way home.

The only minor complaint I would have would be the check-out service, but what do you expect from minimum wage employees?

you're not picky you're normal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Randall's has been considered a more upscale grocery for years. That only means its a store that has more top of the line items that you would not find at a Fiesta or Sellers. That simple. It also means it way more expensive than your average grocery. Randall's made more $ off the public over the years so they have more to splurge. Ever go to a Randall's Flagship around the holidays? There was one on Westheimer that would go all out in just decorating the place. You would think they had Macy's decorate for them at Chrismas time. Pretty lavish.$$$ :wacko:

Houston has more people struggling (money wise) to afford stores like fancy, shmancy Randall's. The others like HEB, Sellers and Fiesta are simply more affordable to the avergae Joe. Houston has millions of average Joes. :blush: That simple.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Davis Food City on Stella Link closed. Does this mean that Davis Food City is in trouble?

Boy, I hope not. That's one of the last places left in existance where you can actually buy 4 cans of vegetables for one dollar. Easy shopping no over hype advertising and fast check outs. Like the good old days. :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I like the Randall's because it's convenient. It is pricey,though so I don't do major shopping there. But it's also easy to park underground and the Starbucks patio upstairs is nice. I also go to the Kroger on Polk at Cullen for basic items. It's the cheapest store in the area by far, though I wouldn't go there after dusk.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

RUMOR

A source that services the grocery industry tells me that Randall's is suffering and may be re-evaluating the midtown location. Has anyone else heard anything? That would be a major blow to DT/MT residential if that were to close. I'm thinking Kroger on West Gray or Fiesta on Fannin are the closest grocers otherwise? I can't imagine that would stay vacant too long until Kroger or HEB moved in. It is always busy when I go there.

I wouldn't be surprised. I lived right across the street from it, in the Camden Midtown, from Spring 02-Spring 03. It's a nice building, was well-stocked at the time (though Safeway is really ruining Randall's on that point), but the panhandlers really make it an unpleasant place to shop. You get hit up on your way in, you get hit up on your way out. One time a panhandler approached me in the frozen food section. I alerted security, but they will always be fighting that battle, and it chases away a lot of customers.

Of course, none of the Randall's are doing very well, thanks to Safeway. They are still more pricey, but their selection and service, which they used to pride themselves on, have gone way downhill.

Edited by Reefmonkey
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Midtown Randall's was ok for when we lived downtown. We really tried to avoid it (like so many other people have said) because the prices were MUCH higher than at the Kroger on W. Gray. I think for every 10 trips to W. Gray Kroger, we would go once to the Midtown Randall's. Now that we're in the Galleria area, we continue to avoid the Randall's on San Felipe (exactly 1 mile away.) We will drive the 9 miles to Costco for the staples that can be frozen - chicken, beef, pork - and most of all, eggs and milk. It's amazing how much cheaper they are compared to HEB/Randall's/Kroger. For produce we generally will hit up the regular grocery store; I've been having a lot of trouble with produce lately. HEB has really let me down, there's no close Kroger, and Randall's is hit or miss for the $$$$. I've even been forced to try to stop by the Uber-Wal-Mart on the way home without any luck. It's really frustrating. ... Is anyone else having this problem lately?

So, someone get that Trader Joe's letter writing campaign cranked back up.

Yes, PLEASE. I miss Trader Joe's and Wegmans of all the NE stores... Meijer: I could live without. They changed too much since I knew them from when I was a kid. (They used to almost be like Costco as far as ambiance goes and had a HUGE selection.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe Randall's can hire guards to shoo away panhandlers. Perhaps they can be authorized to use physical force (i.e. punches and kicks) if the panhandlers persist or if they are repeat offenders.

There's no reason there should be panhandlers outside Randalls. The main entrance and the parking garage entrance are both on private property. They should hire a guard to escort panhandlers off the property, and if they resist call police.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems odd to me that for people living in Midtown, where $300k+ townhomes are the norm, the primary concern when grocery shopping is saving a couple cents on cans of vegetables. I've never found Randalls to be more expensive than Kroger if you use a free Randalls card, but maybe there are some unusual items I don't buy.

I like the Midtown Randalls for the sake of convenience. The amount of money spent on fuel would outweigh any savings, at least for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems odd to me that for people living in Midtown, where $300k+ townhomes are the norm, the primary concern when grocery shopping is saving a couple cents on cans of vegetables. I've never found Randalls to be more expensive than Kroger if you use a free Randalls card, but maybe there are some unusual items I don't buy.

I like the Midtown Randalls for the sake of convenience. The amount of money spent on fuel would outweigh any savings, at least for me.

I totally agree. From where I live, there's a Randall's Flagship and a Kroger nearby, as well as Super Target. All three are roughly the same distance, although the Randall's is slightly farther. Of the three, the Randall's store provides by far the nicest shopping experience. The store was recently renovated and is quite nice. On the other hand, the Kroger, a former Albertson's location, is very outdated and disorganized. As for prices, I've never really noticed much difference on the things I buy, but I also don't drive all over town comparing prices either. To me that's just a waste of time and gas. I hate to see Randall's doing poorly, and I do think that they were a much better grocery store when the Onstead family was in charge. I would really hate to see the Midtown store fail. I shopped in there quite a few times and it's always seemed busy, even though the selection is more limited due to the store's smaller size.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Although I like to cook, shopping for groceries is way down on my list of fun things to do. HEB is my choice for staple items; house brands are good quality and the Gulfgate store is closest to my East End neighborhood. Each Wednesday, Randall's and Kroger post their weekly specials online. Whichever one has the best buys gets my business that week. The popular term for shopping a grocery store primarily for its specials is "cherry-picking".

Yes, Randall's does tend to be pricey, but it's not as bad as Rice Epicurean. Now that's a chain whose continued existence looks shaky! I've been in their large Holcombe store several times on Friday and Saturday when you could count the number of customers on one hand. I wonder who shops at Rice, other than the Bushes when they're in residence here?

Finding a variety of fresh, affordable produce in Houston's neighborhood grocery stores is a problem. HEB used to do a good job, but no longer. Kroger and Randall's are usually expensive and limited in selection. Central Market and Whole Foods have wonderful things but are so upscale that I can shop there only for special occasion meals.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems odd to me that for people living in Midtown, where $300k+ townhomes are the norm, the primary concern when grocery shopping is saving a couple cents on cans of vegetables. I've never found Randalls to be more expensive than Kroger if you use a free Randalls card, but maybe there are some unusual items I don't buy.

I like the Midtown Randalls for the sake of convenience. The amount of money spent on fuel would outweigh any savings, at least for me.

I think for most of us the price differential would not be a big problem if we weren't aware of what Randall's used to be, and what a hollow shell of that it now is. For me there is a principle involved in not paying the same prices I used to when the service and selection are not what they used to be. I find the Kroger's signature stores to have much better selection now, a better shopping environment, and maybe slightly cheaper. For all that I will drive a little father, rather than letting myself get irritated when I find Randall's has stopped carrying yet another item they used to, which I happened to want/need that night.

Though I do agree the Krogers in the old Albertsons suck, as the Albertsons did before them.

Edited by Reefmonkey
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if it has been mentioned previously, but I think the Spec's in Midtown is slowly taking away some of Randall's market share (I think this is a good thing - it will force Randall's to reevaluate its business model).

Spec's has a reasonablly priced produce section, a great deli, a nice selection of cheeses, and of course.......a lot of booze. I generally get my non-pershible products at Fiesta once a month (toothpaste, shampoo, mayo, etc.) and visit Spec's a few times a week in between. Its a nice balance and am starting to notice more people doing the same.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why not MORE grocery stores in the loop open 24 hrs??!! Miss my 24 hr grocery stores on west coast!!!! But, I guess the answer to that from most on this noard would be..."GO BACK!"

I wish that there were more 24 hour stores too. Some stores that used to be 24 hours later switched to having store hours.

The following are still 24 hour stores:

* Kroger - 5130 Buffalo Speedway, Houston 77005

* Kroger - 1938 West Gray, Houston 77019

* Kroger - 3300 Montrose Boulevard, Houston 77006

* Kroger - 1990 Old Spanish Trail, Houston 77054

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wish that there were more 24 hour stores too. Some stores that used to be 24 hours later switched to having store hours.

The following are still 24 hour stores:

* Kroger - 5130 Buffalo Speedway, Houston 77005

* Kroger - 1938 West Gray, Houston 77019

* Kroger - 3300 Montrose Boulevard, Houston 77006

* Kroger - 1990 Old Spanish Trail, Houston 77054

The Kroger I shop at in the Heights (Shepard @ 11th) is open 24 hrs, too. :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • The title was changed to Is Randall's Going To Go Away?

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...