North Texan grocery shoppers are soon to have a new destination for fresh foods. H-E-B/Central Market, a storied San Antonio-based grocery brand, is soon to take over six locations that current operator Sun Fresh Market is in the process of closing.
H-E-B is a popular and beloved Texas grocery chain that operates 350 locations around the state and in Northern Mexico. From their standard brand, customers are very satisfied with their in-house branded items, which range from standard pantry goods to offbeat choices such as flavored charcoal. Shoppers also appreciate that each location is unique and designed to fit a community’s needs.
The company’s focus in North Texas thus far has been on their upscale Central Market brand, which operates five locations in this part of the state. Central Market locations typically stock organic food and offer cooking classes, making them especially valuable for consumers.
H-E-B/Central Market has not stated what types of stores they will be converting the Sun Fresh Market locations, nor has the company stated whether the purchased locations will go through with their impending closure before reopening, but Todd Piland, the company’s executive vice president of real estate, has said that the sale will be resolved “in the coming weeks.”
Meanwhile, it seems employees had been kept in the dark about the sale until the last minute. A clerk at one location was unsure of her future with the company, saying she had only been informed of the sale two days before it went public.
Four of the Sun Fresh Markets purchased were located in Dallas, one at McKinney Avenue and Lemmon Avenue, two on Northwest Highway, at Midway Road and Ferndale Road, and one at Mockingbird Lane and Abrams Road. The other two locations were in Grapevine at State Highway 121 and Hall Johnson Road and in McKinney at Hardin Boulevard and El Dorado Parkway.
The sales seem to be a trend for Sun Fresh Markets, a smaller arm of the Kansas City, Kansas company Associated Wholesale Grocers, a cooperative member-owned grocery distributor. RLS Supermarkets, which owns the Minyard Foods Store brand, operates eight Sun Fresh Market locations independent of its flagship brand. Fiesta Mart, a Houston-based grocer that caters to Hispanic and Latino markets, purchased nine Minyard Food Stores and two Sun Fresh Market stores from RLS Supermarkets in July. Independent grocer Ray Schalek operated the six locations that H-E-B/Central Market has purchased.
Terms of the deal are currently uncertain, but industry leaders are excited to see if one of the state’s most recognizable brands – its largest grocer – will finally bring its flagship brand to the Dallas Fort Worth area. Besides classic H-E-B and Central Market, the company also owns and operates H-E-B Plus!, which offers household items along with its signature brands of groceries, their Mi Tienda chain of Latino-focused superstores, and discount market Joe V’s Smart Shop. Because the company’s statement was so vague, it seems any of these brands could open in the Sun Fresh Market locations.