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Is Randall's Going To Go Away?


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On 1/13/2020 at 3:59 PM, cspwal said:

I think I would understand closing the other stores more if they were focusing on upgrading the remaining ones, but the evidence for that isn't really there.

 

They did update the store at 12850 Memorial Dr. recently.

 

On 1/13/2020 at 1:35 PM, Houston19514 said:

I think the answer to the OP's question is increasingly clear.  Yes, Randall's is actively dying and no, no one cares, not even Albertson's (the owner of Randalls). They apparently decided some years ago that they could not compete in Houston, so why even try?

 

Randalls to Close Five (more) Grocery Stores in Houston

 

This will leave them with 17 stores, down from 51 in 2005 (and 28 just a year ago).

 

Damnit!

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On 1/13/2020 at 4:21 PM, dbigtex56 said:

 

Aw come on. WTF. So Albertson's is even more of a pu--- err, wimp than Safeway was. Geez.

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I wonder who would possibly take over the Midtown Randalls when it closes? Great location for whoever. I shop there infrequently but I go by it on my commute home after work and it's great for getting a few things needed for cooking dinner. Kroger, Whole Foods, Fiesta and HEB have nearby stores, so Sprouts or Trader Joes seem likely candidates to me.

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On 1/18/2020 at 2:29 PM, hindesky said:

I wonder who would possibly take over the Midtown Randalls when it closes?


I'm still wondering what's going to take over the Shepherd Square (2075 Westheimer) location (unless something has slipped in there without my or HAIF's knowledge).

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  • 1 month later...

Target should do well there.  The problem with that Randall's wasn't the location - once upon a time it was busy - but Safeway's insistence on doing just about everything exactly the opposite way from previous management, with the exception of higher prices.

Edited by mollusk
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45 minutes ago, mollusk said:

Target should do well there.  The problem with that Randall's wasn't the location - once upon a time it was busy - but Safeway's insistence on doing just about everything exactly the opposite way from previous management, with the exception of higher prices.

 

Totally right.  Not only did Safeway do everything exactly the opposite way from previous management, they seem to do everything exactly the opposite way one would do if one wanted to stay in business. 

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5 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

Totally right.  Not only did Safeway do everything exactly the opposite way from previous management, they seem to do everything exactly the opposite way one would do if one wanted to stay in business. 

 

Thus demonstrating why they failed in this market at least twice, if not three times.

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6 hours ago, LBC2HTX said:

whoa!!!! good for all the montrose folks! 

this was the smartest decision they could have made in my opinion! 

Edited by gene
fixed wording
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  • The title was changed to Is Randall's going to go away?
  • 1 month later...

Aren't Safeways in other parts of the country usually pretty nice? They succeed in Northern California which must be really tough(high labor costs, unions, an affluent discerning clientele that probably wants to order everything for pickup, etc). Maybe there's something wrong with the expansion model they had or the division they grafted all the Houston stores onto.

 

I went to a Safeway in Denver once and it was pretty nice inside. Albertsons in contrast tend to be moo, I've never seen a "fancy" Albertsons store in the vein of a large H-E-B or Kroger Marketplace, they are always small, windowless beige boxes from the 1970s.

 

Albertsons-Safeway also owns United which is the dominant grocery chain in the Panhandle and those tend to be really great stores.

 

I just have a thing for grocery diversity. I hate to see chains back out of an area. Its too bad they couldn't make it. Hopefully a few stores last a few more years.

Edited by zaphod
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On 4/26/2020 at 4:47 PM, zaphod said:

I went to a Safeway in Denver once and it was pretty nice inside. Albertsons in contrast tend to be moo, I've never seen a "fancy" Albertsons store in the vein of a large H-E-B or Kroger Marketplace, they are always small, windowless beige boxes from the 1970s.

 

Albertson's opened several new stores in Houston in 2000 that only lasted a couple of years before they pulled out of the market in 2002. I can't speak for all of them, but the one on TC Jester was quite large and nice, comparable to a current large H-E-B (but maybe not as "fancy"). 

 

https://houstonhistoricretail.com/grocery/albertsons/

 

My point of reference for Safeway stores is stuck in the 1970s, as that's when I frequented a couple of their stores here. I've never been to any of the newer, nicer Safeways in other cities. 

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I totally forgot about those Albertsons stores. I wasn't living in Houston at that time, I just remember seeing them sometimes when visiting family here. That explains the unusual design of a number of places around here.

Edited by zaphod
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  • 1 month later...

the Randall's at San Felipe and Sage isn't going anywhere anytime soon. they are in the process of completely redoing all their floors and should be done probably by the end of July. It actually looks really great too (looks to be vinyl flooring planks to simulate wood). i spoke to a manager on duty and he said he was aware of this thread and just laughed it off. 

(and again, i go this location often, mainly out of convenience since my condo is a block away and with my Randall's card i personally am happy with the pricing of the things i personally buy...plus i have been going here for 24 years so i just like the familiarity of it (and yes i love and do go to HEB and Central Market in Uptown area at times as well))

 

 

Edited by gene
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  • 4 weeks later...

Oddly enough, I think the Coronavirus has been the saving grace of Randalls for 2020.

 

My friends mostly live in the suburbs and go to Kroger and HEB. Whereas I live off Westheimer and S. Gessner within walking distance of a Randalls, and driving distance of several other stores.

 

At least among the informal discussions with my friends: I was the first one to find Hand Sanitizer for sale, at Randalls (9660 Westheimer). Later I was the first to find Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol) for sale, again at Randalls (12850 Memorial). I shop at both stores consistently.

 

I remember after Harvey too. I was living in the same area back then as well (Westchase). I drove first to the Kroger at 9919 Westheimer. The line literally snaked around behind the building, just to get inside. So I drove just a bit further to the Randalls. There, I could get inside right away, and they had fresh meat there, and some vegetables. I was able to pick some stuff up and then make the long awkward ~2.5 hour trek out to my mom's house. (She's around Beltway 8 and 1960, but I had to drive all the way out to the Grand Parkway just to cross the reservoirs).

 

I really do hope Randalls sticks around at least in some form. Reduction of competition has shown to be universally bad for the consumer.

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  • 5 months later...

Randalls to close another Houston-area grocery store

https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2021/01/14/randalls-bellaire-grocery-store-to-close.html?cx_testId=40&cx_testVariant=cx_27&cx_artPos=0#cxrecs_s

Quote

 

Longtime local grocer Randalls will close its Bellaire store next month.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the store's liquidation process began Jan. 13, and the closure is slated for Feb. 20. The Bellaire store, at 5130 Bellaire, is the only one affected.

 

 

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On 1/15/2021 at 8:10 PM, Highrise Tower said:

 

Not really surprising. Still sucks though. My old office was in that area so I was usually in that Randalls at least twice a week.

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  • 1 month later...

image.thumb.png.fc8ff4d0d5f74e7e6fabd75d677c3aea.pngSaw this on Facebook today. At least Randalls is advertising ***somewhere*** still. Pretty smart too I'd say since they could target zip codes in Houston where they still have actual goddamned stores...

Randalls now has more Austin area stores than Houston which is quite "Remarkable" when you think about it.

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On 3/17/2021 at 4:20 AM, MikeRichardson said:

Saw this on Facebook today. At least Randalls is advertising ***somewhere*** still. Pretty smart too I'd say since they could target zip codes in Houston where they still have actual goddamned stores...

Randalls now has more Austin area stores than Houston which is quite "Remarkable" when you think about it.

I get their mail ads every week since I live close to the Midtown Randalls

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

Chron.com has posted more pictures of Boris Yeltsin visiting Randalls #30.

It has been said that Yeltsin "was so overwhelmed by the variety of food that his faith in Communism was shattered."

It wasn't even a Flagship Randall's. Now it's a Food Town.

https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/bayarea/news/article/When-Boris-Yeltsin-went-grocery-shopping-in-Clear-5759129.php

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just saw an actual Randall's TV commercial on one of the Vizio/Pluto Watch Free channels on my TV!

It was short (15 seconds), and probably generic - "Visit your local INSERT_STORE_NAME_HERE today" - but it was a legitimate ad for Randall's.

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  • The title was changed to Is Randall's Going To Go Away?
  • 2 months later...

So here's a letter I wrote to Randalls the other day. I submitted using their app, which has always gotten a response for other issues I have complained about using said app.

In summary: Randalls, please grow some balls and actually f*cking compete in this market!

Edit: The below mentioned Westheimer store was historically a 24 hour store long ago. Randalls' operation of 24 hour stores is mentioned in this Houston Press article: https://www.houstonpress.com/news/where-are-they-when-you-need-them-6573131 and I also have an old picture of the Westheimer store (9660 Pre Rebuild) with 24 hour signage somewhere.

Quote

Dear Randalls Food Markets,

Probably your #2 or #3 customer here. Don't ask me why. Even I don't know why these days.

You were there for us, right after Harvey. Why you chose to abandon your Woodlands' stores last year, I'll never comprehend in 1000 years. But I'm still here, and I have 2 suggestions for you.

 

I have one small request, and one possibly big opportunity for you. Please consider both.

#1 small request: DON'T DIE. STOP TRYING TO DIE! This goes for both Houston and Austin. You have good sales sometimes. Your regular prices are in line with Kroger and other national competitors. You have a place in both markets. STOP TRYING TO DIE! Maybe even consider opening a brand new store in the next few years. The mere action of doing that would certainly get you stories on the local news!

#2 big opportunity: Consider a 24 hour store! Kroger has given up on all of their 24 hour stores since the pandemic. Walmart too! CVS and Walgreens' 24 hour stores both number in the extremely low single digits! Randalls has an opportunity here to bring back 24 hour shopping to the City of Houston. For the cost of a security guard and an attendant for self checkout, Randalls could basically dominate 11 PM - 6 AM in Houston.  The Westheimer store (the only one of those left :( ) seems best suited to make 24 hours due to its central location. Unless you are going to shut that store down too :(

#3 bonus suggestion: it looks like the card is no longer required to get deals! Great! NOW TELL PEOPLE ABOUT IT!!!!!!

In summary: STOP TRYING TO DIE, and, TAKE ADVANAGE OF OBVIOIUS MARKET OPPORTUNITIES! These are so obvious, and I didn't even go to business school...

Lifelong customer,

Michael Richardson

Edited by MikeRichardson
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It's good that you took the time to express your feelings that way.  Hopefully your message didn't just go to the corporate marketing department in Boise where it was roundfiled.

The Midtown Randall's isn't what it should be.  I've shopped there since the day it opened.  And I guarantee that nobody has power washed that basement parking area since the day it opened.

It seems to be trying to do too much for too many people, and manages to underserve everyone.  If it could just be good at the basics, that would be enough.  I don't know if it's a reaction to the Whole Foods opening, but it really should ditch the grab-n-go and hot bar and similar things and refocus on the fundamentals.  You can't get everything at Whole Foods.  Randall's should carry the rest.  But then again, hot bar and grab-n-go are the few items with big profit margins for supermarkets these days.  I'm not sure what the solution is.

Right now, my primary grocery source is HEB delivery.  Then for fresh things, Central Market and Phoenicia.  Only when I can't get something from those three places, I head down to Randall's.  But so far, that's only been twice in four months.

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I just moved to Fort Worth, specifically the southwest side, and here Tom Thumb and Albertsons are really the only choice. There are a few nasty looking small Kroger stores that are not convenient to get to, and then Walmart Neighborhood Markets which are basically acceptable and have acceptable but not great prices and like no selection.

Like 45 minutes in the car from where I live, in Mansfield and Burleson there is a Kroger Marketplace and the only H-E-B in north texas, respectively, but my groceries would melt. Grocery shopping here is kind of stuck in the 1990s. All the stores are small and have poor selection unless you go to Central Market or Whole Paycheck.

Tom Thumb at it's absolute best, meaning the fairly modern store for the bougie people who live in that area off Hulen or the one on Camp Bowie near the Ridgelea theater, is like a lower-tier non-signature-store neighborhood Kroger in Houston. Like the smaller of the two stores in Kingwood, or the little hidden-away one in Spring off Treaschwig. Still small, only limited produce, no international section, not a lot of non-grocery items, etc.

Albertsons is a standby, they are basically like Tom Thumb but smaller. The stores are okay but just old. I have been going to the one on I-30 and its sort of a time machine. Which is kind of cool actually. Movies and Netflix series set in the 1980s are so trendy right now, they should advertise as a filming location. It looks just like the old Randalls we shopped at when I was a kid growing up, it even has the wood panel walls around the back, the spinning carosel table where the cashier sets your bags, etc.

The worst part is that everything is like 10% more expensive. A name brand frozen pizza at a Kroger Marketplace or an H-E-B in greater Houston would be 5.99, and at Albertsons or Tom Thumb or Walmart in Dallas it is 6.99. It doesn't sound like a big deal but then I noticed I spent a good amount more on the final receipt.

I guess the nice thing I'll say is that least Albertsons and Tom Thumb tend to keep old neighborhood local stores open that in Houston would have been shut down or turned into a self-storage megachurch charter school. So they are convenient.

Also I noticed that unlike in Houston where the full size Super Walmarts are sort of less common and always mediocre, the full sized Super Walmarts in the DFW area seem much larger and must have been remodeled recently. The one in Benbrook for example seems to have an acceptably large grocery area. I learned from someone that the first ever super walmart in the US was called a Walmart Hypermarket and is in South Arlington, and still open.

Targets seem moderately more common up here too. In Houston a lot of the eastern half or north side doesn't have a Target, but in Fort Worth even more blue collar parts of the city have a Target.

I swear H-E-B is going to totally pwn this place when they arrive. They are going to sweep in and totally dominate the competition because there basically is none when it comes to big supersized grocery stores like Houston and Austin have.

If Tom Thumb (Albertsons Safeway Corp) wants to compete or survive in this market they need to start building the kind of stores that I've seen out west in El Paso and Albuquerque. Albertsons has a store format which looks like a Kroger Marketplace.

Edited by zaphod
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10 hours ago, zaphod said:

The worst part is that everything is like 10% more expensive.

So, I don't want to suggest this as a general policy. But I was basically ~ok~ with that during the worst of the pandemic you know?  I still had drive to my mom's place weekly, you know? Her car is fu**ed up. I'd bring her groceries and stuff. And who was right there on my way? Memorial Dr. Randalls. Awesome store there.

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On 11/18/2021 at 3:08 PM, editor said:

It seems to be trying to do too much for too many people, and manages to underserve everyone.  If it could just be good at the basics, that would be enough.  I don't know if it's a reaction to the Whole Foods opening, but it really should ditch the grab-n-go and hot bar and similar things and refocus on the fundamentals.

The fried chicken is pretty good, with a sale every Monday. I do see a lot of people carrying that out (from the 2 stores I frequent - haven't been to Midtown in a few years and only a few times since it opened).

If they'd just advertise the "no card needed now" angle they'd surely regain a not insignificant number of customers who are turned off by the card. You can attribute this to Albertson's being the apparently successor company out of the Safeway/Albertson's merger.

(Besides, who needs those cards to track people anymore? You can just track them using their Debit or Credit Card #, or maybe Bluetooth/WiFi pings off their phone.)

Maybe put the Boar's Head back, I honestly could give a crap, but I've seen a lot of people grousing about that.

There are still some benefits to the card, you still get the gas points and also a free item every month. The points are redeemable at either Shell or Chevron, I forget which one it is now (as well as the Randalls gas stations all 5 or whatever of them).

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