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  1. Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    I believe people are being too hard on Oklahoma City when in comes to grocery options. You quickly forget that we have two chains that are answering the demand for better quality, locally. You, the consumer, have the power to demand better because you are a paying customer. Other cities have demanded better and received better, while some people in OKC spend all their time drooling over options in other cities, then shopping there, while doing nothing to push local grocers for better quality. Crest and Buy 4 Less is making efforts, and those need to be supported if we want to see improvements.

    We can always wait for a company outside the market to come in and rescue us, but it doesn't work that way. We can debate until we are blue in the face that part of the problem is lack of market share, and we'd be right, but at the end of the day we let Wal-Mart march in and run the show while we paced back and forth with our heads staring at the floor with "other cities" envy.

    Oklahoma City's demographics are much better than in years past, that is just the bottom line. I just spoke with a regional manager at Kroger that emphasized that it doesn't matter if a city has pock-marked high income areas or contiguous high income areas, they are more concerned about market share in a regional trade area.

    We need to meet our own desires half way by putting our money where our mouth is as paying customers. If we hate Wal-Mart, don't shop there. If we hate Homeland, let's put together a survey and skewer their upper management for failure to deliver quality products in a quality environment.
    Continue the Renaissance!!!

  2. Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    Also, I'd like to add that I will be putting my money where my mouth is by shopping at either Crest or Uptown Market.
    Continue the Renaissance!!!

  3. #53

    Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    Quote Originally Posted by okcpulse View Post
    I believe people are being too hard on Oklahoma City when in comes to grocery options. You quickly forget that we have two chains that are answering the demand for better quality, locally. You, the consumer, have the power to demand better because you are a paying customer. Other cities have demanded better and received better, while some people in OKC spend all their time drooling over options in other cities, then shopping there, while doing nothing to push local grocers for better quality. Crest and Buy 4 Less is making efforts, and those need to be supported if we want to see improvements.

    We can always wait for a company outside the market to come in and rescue us, but it doesn't work that way. We can debate until we are blue in the face that part of the problem is lack of market share, and we'd be right, but at the end of the day we let Wal-Mart march in and run the show while we paced back and forth with our heads staring at the floor with "other cities" envy.

    Oklahoma City's demographics are much better than in years past, that is just the bottom line. I just spoke with a regional manager at Kroger that emphasized that it doesn't matter if a city has pock-marked high income areas or contiguous high income areas, they are more concerned about market share in a regional trade area.

    We need to meet our own desires half way by putting our money where our mouth is as paying customers. If we hate Wal-Mart, don't shop there. If we hate Homeland, let's put together a survey and skewer their upper management for failure to deliver quality products in a quality environment.
    Good post. So from your conversation with Kroger, does it appear that I was correct in that Wal-Mart's marketshare is what is keeping them (or another chain) out?

    People can do their part to not support Wal-Mart, but the vast majority will still shop there even though they don't like it. There is a Southpark episode that tells it perfectly. If that is the case, than its unlikely the situation will improve much unless Homeland was to be bought out. Until then, those who care about quality should do their best to support the few places in the metro that provide it.

    A lot of people here have accused me of being a Wal-Mart shopper, but I try to stay out of there unless I absolutely need to. Usually I only go when my parents visit because that's where they insist on shopping. My mom refuses to shop at Crest or Homeland. Myself, most of the time I take the extra time and effort to drive to Buy for Less on NW Expressway or Sprouts.

  4. #54

    Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    I think Kroger or Safeway buying Homeland is still the most likely scenario, they both seem to prefer acquisitions in a new market rather than a complete new start up. Both seem to be methodically expanding but Kroger seems a little more active lately with the recent Charlotte acquisition.

  5. #55

    Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    Quote Originally Posted by bluedogok View Post
    I think Kroger or Safeway buying Homeland is still the most likely scenario, they both seem to prefer acquisitions in a new market rather than a complete new start up. Both seem to be methodically expanding but Kroger seems a little more active lately with the recent Charlotte acquisition.
    I agree. However, it will be a major investment for whatever company undertakes it being that most Homeland stores will need so much work to bring them forward three decades. The worst Harris Teeters are about on the level of the Edmond Crest, with the average store being like Uptown Grocery so for them it will pretty much just be a name swap.

    I'm hoping it gets done though. Homeland seems like a perfect target for a takeover.

  6. #56

    Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    The thing is though the stores are a small part of the grocery infrastructure, Safeway/Homeland has had back end assets that are the real cost of doing business for a grocery chain in the way that Kroger, Publix, HEB likes to operate. There are several King Soupers facilities on this side of Denver, we drive by the milk plant every day going to work. That was one of the problems for chains like Albertsons and K-Mart (in general), their distribution setup was spread out over great distances that they didn't have enough scale of economy to compete. I know that Homeland took over all the Safeway assets at NE 36th & Lincoln when the split happened, I'm not sure if they still have those assets or if AWG kept those and whether they could be bundled in a sale. I think Kroger looks much more for a turnkey opportunity than a new build out when looking at new markets.

  7. #57

    Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    Quote Originally Posted by bluedogok View Post
    The thing is though the stores are a small part of the grocery infrastructure, Safeway/Homeland has had back end assets that are the real cost of doing business for a grocery chain in the way that Kroger, Publix, HEB likes to operate. There are several King Soupers facilities on this side of Denver, we drive by the milk plant every day going to work. That was one of the problems for chains like Albertsons and K-Mart (in general), their distribution setup was spread out over great distances that they didn't have enough scale of economy to compete. I know that Homeland took over all the Safeway assets at NE 36th & Lincoln when the split happened, I'm not sure if they still have those assets or if AWG kept those and whether they could be bundled in a sale. I think Kroger looks much more for a turnkey opportunity than a new build out when looking at new markets.
    Interesting. So if Kroger can buy the entire Homeland infrastructure, updating the stores though a large task would be small compared the entire purchase?

  8. #58

    Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    Quote Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
    Interesting. So if Kroger can buy the entire Homeland infrastructure, updating the stores though a large task would be small compared the entire purchase?
    Except I don't think Homeland is interested in selling. They have a fairly unique set-up with employee ownership that's apparently working out real well. Homeland is making some moves, see this: BRR wins Homeland as newest grocery client. | BRR Architecture . The mysterious thing is why they pour all of their money into just a few of their stores. I have a feeling they'll be selling off some of those old stores, and that's why the stepchild treatment and we'll see new Homelands more like May and Britton.

  9. #59

    Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    Quote Originally Posted by zookeeper View Post
    Except I don't think Homeland is interested in selling. They have a fairly unique set-up with employee ownership that's apparently working out real well. Homeland is making some moves, see this: BRR wins Homeland as newest grocery client. | BRR Architecture . The mysterious thing is why they pour all of their money into just a few of their stores. I have a feeling they'll be selling off some of those old stores, and that's why the stepchild treatment and we'll see new Homelands more like May and Britton.
    That would be awesome. I do like the Homeland at May and Britton. If more of them were like that and less like May and 122nd, it would be an excellent chain. It does seem like some of the worse ones are closing, like 39th and Penn for instance. Instead of closing the old stores, they should sell them and hopefully the buyer will invest more in them.

  10. #60

    Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    Quote Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
    Interesting. So if Kroger can buy the entire Homeland infrastructure, updating the stores though a large task would be small compared the entire purchase?
    An architect (since retired) that I worked with in OKC did a lot of grocery distribution centers, mainly for Publix (the firm was based in Bethany) and the cost of those are significant over store remodeling costs. Benham did Fleming distribution centers in the early 80's. All those facilities can add up quick when you are trying to warehouse all the stock that a grocery store needs, even when I worked at Skaggs in high school there were some items that we would have trouble keeping in stock because of the lag between orders and delivery since there wasn't a large Skaggs-Albertson's/Alpha Beta distribution center in OKC. It definitely saves money in the long run in distribution costs and time to the shelves.

    An electrical engineer that I worked with in Austin worked for HEB properties division for many years before going into private practice, if you are opening new stores constantly that can be more than the back end investment, HEB typically had a balanced approach of new and remodeled stores. The Albertson's (that closed) by our house in South Austin was an HEB in a strip center before they built a new store at Brodie Lane & WM Cannon. Most of the older HEB stores were leased locations in strip centers, as was the Central Market on our side of town. They are just cheaper than developing your own stores but HEB has such a cash flow now they are looking at replacing those older stores with new stand alone stores. They also took over quite a few of the abandoned Albertson's locations when they left the Austin market.

    I know most of the King Soupers here are in strip centers, and the one I remember from Little Rock was in a strip center mall type of arrangement (Markham & Rodney Parham location). The two that I went to in Dallas were as well, I think that is what Kroger prefers instead of developing stand alone locations.

    The distribution system is where Walmart excels, HEB is pretty close to them in efficiency and that is a big part of their profit. Waiting for a Fleming (back then) or AWG to get your stock to you can bog down that efficiency and increase your costs since you are going through a middle man that a chain like Walmart, HEB, Kroger, Publix, etc. are not having to bear, they are buying direct from suppliers. Crest has a similar model just on a much smaller scale, the fact they are able to operate like that with so few stores is a testament to how much quantity they have go through those stores.

  11. #61

    Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    Quote Originally Posted by zookeeper View Post
    Except I don't think Homeland is interested in selling. They have a fairly unique set-up with employee ownership that's apparently working out real well. Homeland is making some moves, see this: BRR wins Homeland as newest grocery client. | BRR Architecture . The mysterious thing is why they pour all of their money into just a few of their stores. I have a feeling they'll be selling off some of those old stores, and that's why the stepchild treatment and we'll see new Homelands more like May and Britton.
    They were "employee owned" back when a group of Safeway Oklahoma employees bought the chain as Safeway was shedding assets to pay off their junk bond scandal in the 80's. They got into trouble again and sold out to AWG before buying themselves back. Benham was "employee owned" when they sold out to Atkins before a group of employees bought themselves back for a fraction of what Atkins paid and have since sold out to SAIC. PBS&J (big E little A firm out of Orlando) was employee owned and sold out to Atkins (as they entered the US market again) because employee ownership was becoming a burden, in most cases you can't get enough employees to commit to an ownership stake as others are retiring, usually the bar is too high for entry for most employees for a large company.

    Employee owned has its own rewards and pitfalls, if Kroger or Safeway came in with a strong offer, they would sell. Just the nature of having "employee owners".

  12. #62

    Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    Quote Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
    I agree. Tulsa is worlds ahead in this area as well as many other areas. I don't see anything changing here in the near future. Wal-Mart has too much control over this market.

    OKC would be a perfect expansion market for H-E-B but we can wish all we want, it isn't happening.
    I disagree. OKC's retail scene is really getting going and I think the grocer revolution is around the corner lol. . .

    I really think we'll see Krogers and perhaps Tom Thumb here soon.

  13. #63

    Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    Unless they have since shed them, Homeland acquired a fair number of United Food stores about 5 years back. These were/are located outside the metro area.

  14. #64

    Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    Quote Originally Posted by okcpulse View Post
    I believe people are being too hard on Oklahoma City when in comes to grocery options. You quickly forget that we have two chains that are answering the demand for better quality, locally. You, the consumer, have the power to demand better because you are a paying customer. Other cities have demanded better and received better, while some people in OKC spend all their time drooling over options in other cities, then shopping there, while doing nothing to push local grocers for better quality. Crest and Buy 4 Less is making efforts, and those need to be supported if we want to see improvements.

    We can always wait for a company outside the market to come in and rescue us, but it doesn't work that way. We can debate until we are blue in the face that part of the problem is lack of market share, and we'd be right, but at the end of the day we let Wal-Mart march in and run the show while we paced back and forth with our heads staring at the floor with "other cities" envy.

    Oklahoma City's demographics are much better than in years past, that is just the bottom line. I just spoke with a regional manager at Kroger that emphasized that it doesn't matter if a city has pock-marked high income areas or contiguous high income areas, they are more concerned about market share in a regional trade area.

    We need to meet our own desires half way by putting our money where our mouth is as paying customers. If we hate Wal-Mart, don't shop there. If we hate Homeland, let's put together a survey and skewer their upper management for failure to deliver quality products in a quality environment.
    I don't think people are being too hard on the OKC grocery options. The truth is that these stores are just inferior to the stores in most other places. A city like Norman, one of the largest in the state, should have a much better selection of grocery stores. Crest is the home of "Rock Bottom Prices" and Buy for Less is clearly emphasizing the low cost of their products. Walmart's motto is "Always Low Prices." Those are our main options...places that all compete on low price, not high quality. Homeland has improved some of their stores, and the Crest stores are OK, but the reality is that, aside from Whole Foods, we do not have the kind of grocery store where you would actually want to sit down and hang out or eat. That's what makes Central Market and Whole Foods so different, and until we get more options like these, I bet the complaints will continue.

  15. Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    Quote Originally Posted by gamecock
    ..places that all compete on low price, not high quality...
    Just for my own curiosity, and for the edification of the broader discussion, could you put that contrast in concrete terms? "High quality" is very subjective. When you use that term, what do you mean, specifically? Store environment? Specific brand availability? Deli counter? Lack of a deli counter? Ample checkout staff? A pharmacy?

    The point is that it is easy to bash current selection under a fairly generic veil of "high quality," but as we all know, its very difficult to define quality except to the extent that we all seem to "know it when we see it." I'm really interested to know what you're thinking of when you use that term.

    Quote Originally Posted by gamecock

    ... we do not have the kind of grocery store where you would actually want to sit down and hang out or eat...
    And that begs a critical difference in the perception of what a grocery store is supposed to be. I go to a grocery store to (surprise, surprise) buy groceries. I don't go to "sit down and hang out or eat..."

    To me, a grocery store is a grocery store, not a coffee klatch. If it increases the operating costs of a "grocery store" by X% that I ultimately see in the prices of my day-to-day goods merely to sustain a place to "sit down and hang out or eat," then that store has very little chance of capturing very much of my business.

    That's not at all to suggest that I think providing such a place or wanting such a place is wrong, its just different. It doesn't mesh with my personal expectations. However, I don't think I'm walking a plank of drastic independence to suggest that most people I know view a grocery store in a substantially similar way. It tends to go back to that perception/practicality issue I mentioned in an earlier post.

  16. #66

    Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    Quote Originally Posted by gamecock View Post
    I don't think people are being too hard on the OKC grocery options. The truth is that these stores are just inferior to the stores in most other places. A city like Norman, one of the largest in the state, should have a much better selection of grocery stores. Crest is the home of "Rock Bottom Prices" and Buy for Less is clearly emphasizing the low cost of their products. Walmart's motto is "Always Low Prices." Those are our main options...places that all compete on low price, not high quality. Homeland has improved some of their stores, and the Crest stores are OK, but the reality is that, aside from Whole Foods, we do not have the kind of grocery store where you would actually want to sit down and hang out or eat. That's what makes Central Market and Whole Foods so different, and until we get more options like these, I bet the complaints will continue.
    Norman and SW OKC actually has it good in this area compared to the Northside. It has both Crest Fresh Markets as well a couple of the nicer Homelands. Nowhere in the metro though has the abundance of quality options that Tulsa or any other city has.

    Quote Originally Posted by SoonerDave View Post
    Just for my own curiosity, and for the edification of the broader discussion, could you put that contrast in concrete terms? "High quality" is very subjective. When you use that term, what do you mean, specifically? Store environment? Specific brand availability? Deli counter? Lack of a deli counter? Ample checkout staff? A pharmacy?

    The point is that it is easy to bash current selection under a fairly generic veil of "high quality," but as we all know, its very difficult to define quality except to the extent that we all seem to "know it when we see it." I'm really interested to know what you're thinking of when you use that term.
    You are right, high quality consists of all of those things. Availability, quality of produce, high quality deli counter, store environment, ample checkout staff, etc. Wal-Mart, even in their best Neighborhood Markets, fails at several of these things.

    Here is an average Harris Teeter











    Quote Originally Posted by SoonerDave View Post
    And that begs a critical difference in the perception of what a grocery store is supposed to be. I go to a grocery store to (surprise, surprise) buy groceries. I don't go to "sit down and hang out or eat..."

    To me, a grocery store is a grocery store, not a coffee klatch. If it increases the operating costs of a "grocery store" by X% that I ultimately see in the prices of my day-to-day goods merely to sustain a place to "sit down and hang out or eat," then that store has very little chance of capturing very much of my business.

    That's not at all to suggest that I think providing such a place or wanting such a place is wrong, its just different. It doesn't mesh with my personal expectations. However, I don't think I'm walking a plank of drastic independence to suggest that most people I know view a grocery store in a substantially similar way. It tends to go back to that perception/practicality issue I mentioned in an earlier post.
    The thing is, ANYWHERE else but OKC, these types of stores that most here think are 'different' and upmarket are the standard.

    Back in the late '90s/early '00s, grocery chains that couldn't compete with Wal-Mart on price decided to by offering a superior customer experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Plutonic Panda View Post
    I disagree. OKC's retail scene is really getting going and I think the grocer revolution is around the corner lol. . .

    I really think we'll see Krogers and perhaps Tom Thumb here soon.
    Do you base that on anything? I hope you are right, but as OKCPulse confirmed, a new national player is unlikely to enter the market going up against a 60% Wal-Mart marketshare. The best case scenario is for Homeland to get bought or somebody local (Crest, Uptown Grocery, Reasor's) to do substantial expansion.

  17. Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    Quote Originally Posted by bchris02
    You are right, high quality consists of all of those things. Availability, quality of produce, high quality deli counter, store environment, ample checkout staff, etc. Wal-Mart, even in their best Neighborhood Markets, fails at several of these things.
    I'm asking you (or anyone else, for that matter) to define "quality" in specific terms. Don't use "quality" to define "quality." The word isn't concrete. That's my whole point in this discussion. You take it as a given that everyone defines quality the way you do, and that's not realistic nor accurate. What do you mean by "quality" of produce? "quality" of deli counter?

    You posted the picture of something called "Harris Teeter," which is nice; its a good looking store, but a nice facade doesn't mean I'm going to shop there. A liquor store (which I believe is on one end) is of absolutely no value to me whatsoever. Does that diminish or enhance its quality?

    Again, I'm not trying to bait the discussion, but I am trying to force some concrete perspectives as opposed to "well, XYZ is just better. Its better quality." How, specifically are these places "everyone else has" inevitably better?

    Quote Originally Posted by bhcris02
    Do you base that on anything? I hope you are right, but as OKCPulse confirmed, a new national player is unlikely to enter the market going up against a 60% Wal-Mart marketshare.
    Gotta do better than "its WalMart's fault." Crest is making money and building stores. Homeland is making money (finally, apparently, but that's a separate discussion). I see a GFF store in Moore that's been around for years. Aldi's around town is apparently very successful. Whole Foods is apparently doing well. Sprouts just opened, and I don't think they're local (am I wrong on that?). The point is that, somehow, these successful businesses are seeing opportunity you insist isn't there "because Walmart is here." I'm no business expert, but at some point its entirely realistic to suspect a broader/national group will see a potential in an underserved market and take a shot here. The market problem can't be as simple as "WalMart is 60%, we're all doomed" or these other stores simply couldn't succeed. Can't have it both ways.

  18. #68

    Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    ^^^ Different grocery shoppers have different priorities and different reasons for shopping where they shop. Some its price, others its quality, for others its simply whatever is closest to where they live. For those who are most concerned with price, Wal-Mart is undoubtedly the best option. Even in markets that have these better stores, Wal-Mart still does plenty of business because many shoppers are simply that way - they go where it's cheapest, regardless of anything else. However, the fact Homeland has survived despite its problems and the fact Whole Foods, Sprouts, the new Crests, and Uptown Grocery have been so popular shows there IS a market in OKC for something better.

  19. Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    Quote Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
    ^^^ Different grocery shoppers have different priorities and different reasons for shopping where they shop. Some its price, others its quality, for others its simply whatever is closest to where they live. For those who are most concerned with price, Wal-Mart is undoubtedly the best option. Even in markets that have these better stores, Wal-Mart still does plenty of business because many shoppers are simply that way - they go where it's cheapest, regardless of anything else. However, the fact Homeland has survived despite its problems and the fact Whole Foods, Sprouts, the new Crests, and Uptown Grocery have been so popular shows there IS a market in OKC for something better.
    I'm confused.

    How is one this statement not an absolute contradiction of virtually everything else you've asserted in this thread re the impossible, insurmountable 60% dominance of WM??

  20. #70

    Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    Quote Originally Posted by SoonerDave View Post
    I'm confused.

    How is one this statement not an absolute contradiction of virtually everything else you've asserted in this thread re the impossible, insurmountable 60% dominance of WM??
    Those are 5 stores in a metro of 1.3 million people. Add in the select few nice Homelands and you still have less than 10 quality grocery stores in the entire metro. For comparison, Little Rock is a metro of 700,000 and they have 19 Krogers, one Whole Foods, and one Fresh Market.

  21. Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    Bluddogok,
    I made a mistake, it was Northwest 39th Expressway and Portland and it wasn't a Baker's, but I remember that a Dentist was the owner of the small Oklahoma chain. And I also think the first stores were in the Mid-Del area.
    C. T.
    Quote Originally Posted by bluedogok View Post
    I think it was built as a Baker's, which was out of Nebraska IIRC. I think they sold out to Fleming, wasn't it a Food For Less for awhile before it became Buy For Less?

  22. #72

    Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    Didn't OKC have a Price Mart at one time?

  23. #73

    Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    Quote Originally Posted by ctchandler View Post
    Bluddogok,
    I made a mistake, it was Northwest 39th Expressway and Portland and it wasn't a Baker's, but I remember that a Dentist was the owner of the small Oklahoma chain. And I also think the first stores were in the Mid-Del area.
    C. T.
    Hagee's? Pratt's?

  24. Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    Zookeeper,
    Pratt's! Thanks, it was driving me crazy.
    C. T.
    Quote Originally Posted by zookeeper View Post
    Hagee's? Pratt's?

  25. Default Re: Quality grocery stores in OKC

    Soonerman,
    We had at least two, one on Northwest Expressway and another one in Edmond. I think there was one in South OKC as well.
    C. T.
    Quote Originally Posted by Soonerman View Post
    Didn't OKC have a Price Mart at one time?

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