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Alamo Abundance

The San Antonio region’s suppliers and retailers respond to surging demand in Texas and beyond
MS_Alamo Abundance

Another homegrown favorite—Whole Foods Market, which was founded and is headquartered in Austin—is in transition since its purchase by Amazon last year. Though how much impact the acquisition will have on the state’s stores is still unclear, few would count it out, as there are plenty of loyal Whole Foods shoppers in San Antonio and throughout the state.

International invaders
Among the international chains setting up shop in San Antonio are Lidl and Aldi, the two popular discount German grocery chains. Lidl, which claims that its products are up to 50 percent cheaper than its competitors, opened in the U.S. market last year and currently has 30 locations around the country. Now, it’s sights are set on San Antonio.

Last August, Lidl bought nearly four acres on the city’s east side. A month later, it acquired five acres on the city’s west side and announced it would anchor a plan-ned retail development with a new 30,000-square-foot store. There also happens to be a brand new 93,000-square-foot H-E-B store down the street.

More land, this time nearly six acres in northwest San Antonio, was purchased by Lidl as well. Fellow German grocer Aldi, which competes directly with Lidl, already operates 40 of its celebrated no-frills stores in various locations around Texas, but has not breached San Antonio. It has two locations some distance away, with one north of Austin in Pflugerville and another southeast of San Antonio in Victoria.

Channeling Innovation
While H-E-B has responded to the hot market by offering shoppers a broad range of new conveniences and perks, it isn’t alone. The company recently partnered with Instacart and Shipt to provide delivery services to some of its locations around San Antonio, and Sprouts Farmers Market did the same earlier this year. Customers can shop for groceries online, then, for a fee, one of the services will deliver to their front door.

Whether this proves popular or not is still a question, but if the data is any indication, making the grocery shopping experience more convenient and enjoyable is a growth industry. According to the Food Marketing Institute, 43 percent of millennial consumers shop exclusively online for their groceries, so making it easy is a key driver. To many, it’s the future of grocery shopping and retailing in general—and it’s already here.

Another convenience is Curbside, where H-E-B online shoppers can pick up their purchases at the store at predetermined times. Last year, the company also debuted a drive-through barbecue and breakfast taco concept at a new 118,000-square-foot store on San Antonio’s north side.