HOUSTON — H-E-B is bringing its Joe V’s Smart Shop to two Dallas neighborhoods with a claim to offering the lowest prices in the market on fresh foods as it continues its expansion into Dallas-Fort Worth.
The value concept that’s focused on produce, meat and seafood, leverages H-E-B’s $38 billion a year grocery business to offer low prices, while it includes amenities that H-E-B is known for such as an in-store bakery that makes tortillas daily and butchers cutting and packing fresh meat in the store.
- Joe V’s Smart Shop will open in southern Dallas at 4101 W. Wheatland Road in late summer 2024. H-E-B purchased the 58,940-square-foot building in January 2022. It was originally built for Albertsons in 1985 and closed in 2004.
- A second Joe V’s will open in spring 2025 in east Dallas at 5204 S. Buckner Boulevard on the southwest corner of the intersection with Samuell Boulevard. H-E-B is building that store on 11 acres it purchased in late 2014.
These Joe V’s stores will be the first to open outside of Houston where the format was founded in 2010 and where the 10th Joe V’s is under construction.
The San Antonio-based grocer expects some pushback about its decision to bring Joe V’s instead of H-E-B stores to the two Dallas neighborhoods. H-E-B said in March 2021 that it would expand into D-FW with all its concepts and so far has opened two H-E-B stores in Frisco and Plano with two more opening this year in McKinney and Allen. Other H-E-B stores are under development in Denton and Tarrant counties. Its Dallas-based Central Market division came first in 2001 and has six D-FW stores.
“Like any of our stores, we have to earn our growth and our reputation. People have to become familiar with our Joe V’s brand,” said Stephen Butt, H-E-B board member and president of the company’s Dallas-based Central Market division
“In retailing economics, we have to have different stores to sustain different communities,” Butt said. “Price is very important (at Joe V’s), but we have the highest commitment to freshness and quality.”
Dallas is getting the latest version of Joe V’s that takes down a “wall of values” — deals such as canned peas and corn stacked high on pallets — at the entrance and replaces it with a prepared food section featuring take-home and bake pizza, H-E-B Sushiya sushi made in stores and H-E-B Meal Simple brand of prepared foods.
“We don’t skimp on grocery quality, but we’re constantly innovating on how to take costs out of the stores,” said H-E-B chief operating officer Roxanne Orsak. Joe V’s stores are about 55,000 square feet, which is half the size of an H-E-B. A Joe V’s store employs about 150 people who are hired from surrounding neighborhoods and are offered training and a career path program.
It will be the third of four H-E-B concepts to open in D-FW. A Hispanic concept called Mi Tienda has two stores in Houston, but H-E-B has no active plans to bring it to D-FW yet, Orsak said.
“Joe V’s stores were created for neighborhoods that are densely populated but aren’t growing,” Orsak said. “That’s very different from any other retailer, but we can make it work. For an H-E-B store, we need a lot of growth in population.”
Discussions with H-E-B about bringing a store to southern Dallas have been going on for a decade, said council member Tennell Atkins, of District 8 and chair of the city’s economic development committee.
“I went to Houston and saw Joe V’s ten years ago and that store is still there,” Atkins said. “Everybody wants an H-E-B but this is a subsidiary of H-E-B. They have four concepts. We do not dictate where a grocery goes.”
Atkins said he thinks people will be glad to have a choice in what was an empty building. “Right now we have no choice.”
As high food inflation has forced consumers to seek lower prices, Joe V’s has posted the fastest-growing sales of any H-E-B format, Orsak said. Stores cater to neighborhood tastes. A location in Pasadena stocked more Cajun foods and hot sauces.
Joe V’s specials from last week included boneless pork chops for $2.97 a pound. Hill Country Fare split chicken breasts are 97 cents a pound. Bulk-dried red beans are $1.17 a pound and bananas are 3 pounds for $1. A 2-pound bag of H-E-B’s Hill Country Fair jasmine rice is $1.78 and an 8-ounce bag of shredded cheddar is $1.97.
One of its signature deals is Joe V’s bundle box, a $20 white box with a selection of meats totaling 9 to 10 pounds. A box on sale now in Houston has a combination of chicken quarters, hot dogs, marinated taco meat and ground beef. The bakery’s bolillo rolls made daily have been priced at 8 for $1 since the concept was started 13 years ago.
Within a 3- to 5-mile radius of the Wheatland Road location is WinCo Foods, Aldi, Tom Thumb, Kroger, Target and Walmart.
Joe V’s will open before another recently announced supermarket nearby. Tom Thumb has plans to open in the redeveloped RedBird property. The Dallas city council in April approved $5.8 million in incentives for the 50,000-square-foot Tom Thumb at RedBird. Construction is expected to start in 2024, with the store opening in early 2025 with 90 employees.
The Buckner location is in an area long dominated by a Walmart Supercenter, Sam’s Club and a Walmart Neighborhood Market.
The land where Joe V’s is being built is just across from the Sam’s Club.
The nearest Tom Thumb is 3.8 miles away on Gaston Avenue near Lakewood and Albertsons is 3.2 miles away in the Casa Linda shopping center.
In Houston, the Joe V’s stores draw from a wider radius than a traditional grocery store because of its lower prices, Orsak said.
“We have shoppers who will come from as far as 20 miles away.”