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Is Randall's Going To Go Away?


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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.

The Randalls on 528 and Bay Area Blvd closed down a while back and it just opened as a Specs. Gotta love the irony.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

I don't know if anybody else has noticed, but Randall's is currently in the process of repainting and remodeling the interior of the Midtown location. It looks nice - I like the feaux hardwood flooring in the produce section.

Not sure what it means about the overall health of the location, but if this Randall's was performing very poorly Safeway would probably not be sinking money into its renovation.

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24 hr. grocery shopping is too sketch for me. Can you really not wait until the sun rises for the can of corn?

It may come as a shock for a lot of people on the day-shift -- who think everybody in the world keeps the same hours they keep -- that there is a huge subculture of people who keep completely different hours.

There are day-people, like MidtownCoog and me, but there are also a helluva lot of night people out there who sleep during the day and work or stay up all night. Supermarkets and other retail outlets are wising up to that fact and that's why more and more stores are staying open 24-7.

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I remember when the midtown Randall's opened way back when - my wife and I had just started dating then and she lived in midtown - and it was a big deal that there was going to be a grocery story downtown. But the parking situation sucked (the underground garage was a pain and the few spots in front were cramped and hard to get in and out of), the prices were high, and it was full of panhandlers. Granted, part of the "allure" of midtown was walking everywhere and living amongst panhandlers, but it has just never really clicked apart from the weekend nightclub scene.

Someone mentioned Specs - I have NEVER had a problem with panhandlers there, either in the parking lot or inside. But every other place in midtown seems to have a problem with thugs and street people. Why is Specs different?

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I remember when the midtown Randall's opened way back when - my wife and I had just started dating then and she lived in midtown - and it was a big deal that there was going to be a grocery story downtown. But the parking situation sucked (the underground garage was a pain and the few spots in front were cramped and hard to get in and out of), the prices were high, and it was full of panhandlers. Granted, part of the "allure" of midtown was walking everywhere and living amongst panhandlers, but it has just never really clicked apart from the weekend nightclub scene.

Someone mentioned Specs - I have NEVER had a problem with panhandlers there, either in the parking lot or inside. But every other place in midtown seems to have a problem with thugs and street people. Why is Specs different?

Because Specs doesn't carry enough Boonesfarm or Maddog?. ;)

Edited by KatieDidIt
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Every time I've been in Specs (and I won't say how, um, frequently that is :) ) there's a uniformed HPD in front. could that be the deterrent?

I like having the security guard at Randall's. The other night I went to the Midtown CVS, and a guy was right outside their doors asking for $. I told the woman at the checkout counter, and she knew who I was talking about. She said she didn't know why "they" didn't take care of the situation. Then he came inside, hung around. Doesn't CVS do anything about this? Maybe it was just that one time.

Randall's takes care of this issue.

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I like having the security guard at Randall's. The other night I went to the Midtown CVS, and a guy was right outside their doors asking for $. I told the woman at the checkout counter, and she knew who I was talking about. She said she didn't know why "they" didn't take care of the situation. Then he came inside, hung around. Doesn't CVS do anything about this? Maybe it was just that one time.

a coworker was telling me that he was in the CVS drive-thru and a guy propositioned him. i guess this CVS offers an additional drive-thru "service"

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Send a note to CVS Corporate offices nad tell them you will shop at Walgreens because there's no security at the Midtown CVS. That should get thier attention, especially if you tell them that your neighbors feel the same way.

I'm in the Randalls regularly to pick up after school snacks for my son. It's way better since they have full time security. when it opened, you always got hit up for cash. Of course by the time it opened, we had lived in Midtown for a few years and I was pretty good at getting rid of panhandlers.

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a coworker was telling me that he was in the CVS drive-thru and a guy propositioned him. i guess this CVS offers an additional drive-thru "service"

As I said, people should bring cameras and/or cell phone cameras. This stuff will be comedy gold if uploaded to YouTube.

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It may come as a shock for a lot of people on the day-shift -- who think everybody in the world keeps the same hours they keep -- that there is a huge subculture of people who keep completely different hours.

There are day-people, like MidtownCoog and me, but there are also a helluva lot of night people out there who sleep during the day and work or stay up all night. Supermarkets and other retail outlets are wising up to that fact and that's why more and more stores are staying open 24-7.

I work early mornings, afternoons, overnights... all different hours... it's great, you get the best of all worlds.

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  • 1 month later...

"Join us at the grand re-opening of your Houston Randalls...Saturday January 26th"

Sure doesn't sound like a business with any plans of going away. I've moved to the area recently and shopped there a couple of times and, I gotta say, I don't see what the fuss is all about...it seemed fine to me.

Edited by considering
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I think the prices are a bit high...

Compared to what store? I read about the high prices before moving into the area so I also checked out the Kroger on West Gray and found that on some of the staples (milk and bread) they were about the same. Is there a significantly lower priced grocery store nearby?

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Compared to what store? I read about the high prices before moving into the area so I also checked out the Kroger on West Gray and found that on some of the staples (milk and bread) they were about the same. Is there a significantly lower priced grocery store nearby?

Not sure about lower-priced stores in that area, but in the Houston area, yes. I find Kroger to be reasonably priced. I am not saying Randall's is exhorbitant, but it is more expensive.

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I did notice that this Randall's is even more expensive than Randall's out in the burbs (The only thing I compared was canned items, as that is all I really buy here anymore)

Specs and Rice Ep. have better produce than Randall's nowadays.

I did get in the mail a coupon/flyer announcing the re-grand opening of Randall's.

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Specs and Rice Ep. have better produce than Randall's nowadays.

Are you basing this on recent findings? I ask as it sounds like the quality of food (including produce, of course) is what they aimed to improve upon as part of this grand re-opening. Things might have changed. I don't have enough experience with Specs/Rice Ep. to say anything about them but I can say that I thought the produce at Randall's looked pretty good to me--a person with a suburban HEB background.

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Are you basing this on recent findings? I ask as it sounds like the quality of food (including produce, of course) is what they aimed to improve upon as part of this grand re-opening. Things might have changed. I don't have enough experience with Specs/Rice Ep. to say anything about them but I can say that I thought the produce at Randall's looked pretty good to me--a person with a suburban HEB background.

They have expanded their organic produce section, other than that I haven't noticed much of a difference in the "new" Randalls.

But, since all the money they sunk into it, I guess the rumor that they were in trouble (I was the one to start the thread) looks pretty much dead.

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Are you basing this on recent findings? I ask as it sounds like the quality of food (including produce, of course) is what they aimed to improve upon as part of this grand re-opening. Things might have changed. I don't have enough experience with Specs/Rice Ep. to say anything about them but I can say that I thought the produce at Randall's looked pretty good to me--a person with a suburban HEB background.

I have not been since the re-grand opening. I will have to try it. I too lived in the suburbs and have always liked Randall's but for some reason this one was always sub par. I will go take a look this week and check it out. (I hope they are as good as you say! I can stop going all the way to Wesleyan for groceries now)

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I have not been since the re-grand opening. I will have to try it. I too lived in the suburbs and have always liked Randall's but for some reason this one was always sub par. I will go take a look this week and check it out. (I hope they are as good as you say! I can stop going all the way to Wesleyan for groceries now)

Cool. Let me know what you think because I never got the 'before' experience and I'm curious to see if the grand re-opening really was an improvement or just a marketing ploy.

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've been shoppong there since it opened, and it definitely loks better now. They rearranged the shelves, changed some of the flooring, and it looks like htey upgraded the fresh stuff a bit. the meat looks better, and there's a good variety. The produce section is good - I haven't noticed anything I've wanted not being there.

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  • 5 years later...

I recently read that Safeway was pulling out of the Chicago market, effectively ending the Dominick's name (though I believe that the name will survive). However, I'm concerned about Randalls, which was acquired at about the same time, and hasn't been doing too great in Houston as of late. Is it possible that Safeway will get rid of Randall's and leave the Houston market?

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I recently read that Safeway was pulling out of the Chicago market, effectively ending the Dominick's name (though I believe that the name will survive). However, I'm concerned about Randalls, which was acquired at about the same time, and hasn't been doing too great in Houston as of late. Is it possible that Safeway will get rid of Randall's and leave the Houston market?

 

Yeah, I would not be at all surprised to see Safeway do the same with Randall's.  They seemingly have not been paying much attention to the chain.  I wonder how Safeway stays in business...  It seems they repeatedly go into markets, fail, pull out, wait a few years, buy their way back in, fail, pull out...  Doesn't strike me as a prize-winning business model. 

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I wouldn't be surprised if they left the Houston market.  There was another chain they bought on the east coast (Genardi?) where they made the same mistake and ended up pulling out.  I think at one point Randalls was the first or second largest chain in Houston, but Safeway managed to drive away most of their market share at the same time that competitors like HEB were entering the market.

 

 

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Kroger's continued dominance (it picked up old Safeway/AppleTree stores, and later some Albertsons) and the rise of the Supercenter didn't help either.

 

It also didn't help that Safeway tends to do a "one size fits all" approach, which screwed the chain as a whole over, while H-E-B, Kroger, and Fiesta wisely pick their merchandise mix accordingly.

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Could happen...depends on how far it stretches. About five years ago, when I was with my cousins following the passing of our grandfather, my Florida-turned-Northeastern based cousin who spent some time at Rice regretted that there were no Trader Joe's in Texas. Of course, that's different now, since her sister-in-law takes somewhat regular trips up to the former Alabama Theatre with her husband (who stayed in Houston after Rice), and with at least two TJ's in town now surely must put an additional (but major) strain on Randall's.

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At least for the one at Shepherd and Westheimer, I've never seen more than one register open and I've never seen more than a handful of people in the store. Not sure how it has stayed in business.

And that's the one that's a block down from the Trader Joe's.

Edited by IronTiger
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Could happen...depends on how far it stretches. About five years ago, when I was with my cousins following the passing of our grandfather, my Florida-turned-Northeastern based cousin who spent some time at Rice regretted that there were no Trader Joe's in Texas. Of course, that's different now, since her sister-in-law takes somewhat regular trips up to the former Alabama Theatre with her husband (who stayed in Houston after Rice), and with at least two TJ's in town now surely must put an additional (but major) strain on Randall's.

 

I would think a closer competitor to Trader Joe's is Whole Foods.  TJ's almost feels like a Whole Foods light.

 

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At least for the one at Shepherd and Westheimer, I've never seen more than one register open and I've never seen more than a handful of people in the store. Not sure how it has stayed in business.

 

Which is sad, because when that location first opened it was very much the inner-loop grocery destination.  I had friends on Stella Link near South Loop and from the Heights that made the trip especially to shop there.  Last time I was there you could have rolled bowling balls down the aisles and not hit a soul.

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Whole Foods has been in Houston since the AppleTree days, but I'm more concerned on the future of Randalls. The most plausible scenario is having the brand hacked to pieces, with the remaining Houston grocery stores (Fiesta, Kroger, H-E-B, Whole Foods, and the no-name GSC supplied groceries) feasting on the remains. That's not to say there won't be one or maybe two Randalls leftover, but they'll be GSC supplied as well. However, at the way things are going, that's not guaranteed.

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Well, maybe "concern" is not the right word, and for all intents and purposes Randalls has been dead for years, but to me, it still represents "Houston" to me (after all, it still has a visible presence off of 290) and still a piece (albeit a shrinking one) of Houston's competitive but interesting grocery market.

 

Maybe I'm just nostalgic.

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

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