For almost 20 years, Selser Schaefer Architects has collaborated with Texas-based grocery company H-E-B to create exceptional retail experiences for shoppers and employees alike. Each H-E-B is unique to its setting, yet the experience encountered in every store is designed to inspire the same feeling: this is my H-E-B.
Helping H-E-B deliver this level of personal connection starts with a deep understanding of the community each store serves. The design of the store, as well as the products, services, and experiences, are driven by the culture and lifestyle of the surrounding neighborhood. The Meyerland Market location is the latest example of this through its heavily Kosher offerings that cater to the surrounding Jewish community.
Together, Selser Schaefer Architects and H-E-B work to continually redefine the grocery experience and create retail designs that truly put people first.
A look inside: H-E-B aims to attract the Houston, TX Meyerland area and beyond.
By Tracy Maness, the Houston Chronicle
Photos by Yi-Chin Lee, Houston Chronicle / Staff Photographer
The H-E-B Braeswood store opened 25 years ago but closed in October 2017 after flooding three separate times, the last during Hurricane Harvey. H-E-B made a promise they would return to the neighborhood. Now, the new H-E-B Meyerland Market opened at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29.
The new multi-level store in the Meyerland Plaza shopping center at 4955 Beechnut boasts 95,000 square feet, five times the size of its predecessor. It has the largest total Kosher section in the greater Houston area, according to Hugh Sintic, the store’s general manager, but also has a large selection of international products and conventional ones, too. Because the grocery store is located just off the West Loop, H-E-B aims to attract a wide range of customers from all around Houston.
“I think the point is while there’s been a whole lot of focus, intention, and effort around making sure that the store services and exceeds expectations for our Kosher customers, it really is a store for everyone,” said Winell Herron, H-E-B’s group vice president of public affairs, diversity and environmental affairs. “So that same attention to detail has been in place for most cultures across the Houston area. This really is a store for everyone, much like Houston is incredibly diverse.”
The Meyerland area has more synagogues in a four- to five-mile area than any part of the greater Houston area, Sintic said. So the store is stocked with around 1,400 Kosher options. As you walk in, you will smell the aroma coming from The Roastery, a Kosher coffee and sandwich shop. Further in, you will see Kosher sushi, cheeses, 24 feet of dairy, meats managed by a full-time mashgiach (a Kosher certified supervisor), wines, frozen foods, and a bakery with bagels and tortillas.
The bakery is pareve, which means it does not have meat or cheese. Colored utensils are used to make sure that the Kosher ones do not get mixed with the conventional ones. Kosher options are clearly labeled so that customers can distinguish them. The Houston Kashruth Association works with H-E-B to make sure proper Kosher standards are maintained.
“While there’s been a whole lot of focus, intention, and effort around making sure that the store services and exceeds expectations for our Kosher customers, it really is a store for everyone.”
– Winell Herron, H-E-B Group, VP of Public Affairs, Diversity, and Environmental Affairs
An extensive beer and wine section carries around 2,400 varieties of wine at all price points from $3 a bottle to a French Bordeaux at $1,700. Kosher customers also can shop 12 feet of wines for their needs. “We actually have a really diverse clientele in this area, so we wanted to make sure that we’re serving everybody in the area,” said Ryanne Robinson, the store’s beer and wine steward. “You know, there are going to be people who are in the market for wine $500 and up, but we also want to make sure that we’re serving the people who are in the market for a Tuesday night drink. We also want to make sure we’re serving the people who like craft beer, local beer, international beer.”
An international aisle carries 72 feet of goods from all over the world, including Mexico, Central America, the Middle East, Europe and more.
A full floral shop is prepared to arrange and sell stems for birthdays, holidays, weddings, bat and bar mitzvahs, quinceaneras, and more.
The store has more than 700 parking spots between downstairs and upstairs. Escalators, stairs, elevators and conveyor belts allow customers and shopping carts to travel between the floors. Building up gave H-E-B the ability to have a larger store and have plenty of parking, Herron said.
She also wanted to point out that H-E-B is not just about diversity in the Meyerland Market. It’s also about value, she said, with great prices across the store.
A large pharmacy with comfortable seating for waiting on prescriptions is on the first floor, as well as Curbside, where customers can order food online and have it brought out to their vehicles.
Sintic thinks the store will help the other businesses in Meyerland Plaza at a time when stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond are closing. (The Meyerland location closed earlier this month.) “I believe it’s going to attract a lot of customers from all of Houston,” Sintic said. “So, in collaboration with the plaza, just been here for many years, … I think this is good for the community, and it’s good for all the merchants that are making a living here. And so, I think in collaboration, we’ll do well.”