H-E-B president, Scott McClelland, addressed a large group at last week's Kingwood BizCom presented by the Lake Houston Area Chamber. Photo by Patsy Oliver
New H-E-B set to open August 2016
Larger store to offer many new features
Kingwood's new H-E-B is planned to be bigger and better – and uniquely Kingwood – according to the Texas food giant's president, Scott McClelland.
McClelland addressed a packed room at the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce's Kingwood BizCom meeting Thursday.
McClelland said everywhere he goes in the area, he's asked if the new store will be up to what residents expect.
“I promise you, it will!” exclaimed McClelland.
The store, which will dwarf its predecessor currently across the street, will anchor the new center where the apartments once stood at the northeast corner of West Lake Houston Parkway and Kingwood Drive. Some new offerings will include more organic food choices in produce, a 28-foot seafood department stocked with a fresh assortment, an area to dry-age beef for 21 days, an extensive beer and wine department, cooking demos, wine tastings, a sit-down “Pan-Asian Fusion” restaurant, and even curbside pickup for those who prefer to order online and pick their groceries up without having to leave their vehicles.
McClelland said users of the curbside pickup will be assigned a numbered parking spot, where they will pull up to the keypad, enter their phone numbers, and their groceries will be brought out and loaded for them.
The restaurant, which McClelland said they have researched in detail, will offer items such as Singapore noodles, pad thai, soups, about five different salads, and a lineup of sushi dishes that can't be taken home but can be enjoyed in the restaurant.
When asked if home delivery might be an option, McClelland said there were no plans for it yet, but that it was an idea he was very interested in.
“I think the next step after curbside will be home delivery,” said McClelland.
The new store will be open from 6 a.m. to midnight and will bring more than 120 new jobs to the area, above the 278 employees at the current location.
There will be a fuel center and car wash, as well as a community room which will handle overflow seating from the restaurant and can be reserved for use by community groups.
McClelland said that each store of this kind is uniquely planned to meet the needs of its particular area.
“We're not the most profitable. We don't aspire to be,” said McClelland. “We want to be the best.”
He also teased the crowd by saying that Houston shoppers tend to be “promiscuous,” as in, they “shop around.” The group laughed as he explained that while many shop at two or more grocery stores each month, H-E-B is working to grow its number of loyal customers who only shop with them.
The new center, called Main Street Kingwood, is being developed by Lovett Commercial and will include numerous other offerings such as Memorial Hermann's newest Convenient Care Center and Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers.
Rick Alspaugh, owner of Alspaugh's ACE Hardware and representing the Kings Crossing Community Association, spoke about the relocation of some trees from the area prior to the clearing of the land for the center, as well as the setback of about 15 trees in the medians on West Lake Houston Parkway that will be lost to the planned turn lanes for the center, unless moved.
Alspaugh said the process will cost about $100,000, crediting Burdette Huffman of Lovett Commercial for contributing half of that amount to save the trees. Alspaugh said in the next few months the trees in the median, which have been prepared for moving through a root-pruning process, will be moved back before turn-lane construction begins, in an effort to preserve the canopy of trees that many residents were concerned about losing.
Alspaugh said he also recovered some large rocks from the pond area at the former apartment site and they are now at Town Center. One of the small boulders now bears a plaque dedicated to Kingwood's first responders who were replaced when Kingwood was annexed and the City of Houston took over those services.
Barring any bad weather that could cause delays, the opening of the new H-E-B is set for Aug. 28, 2016.