Really small grocery stores on HEB’s horizon; a fit for downtowns

Stephanie Guzman for Austin Business Journal

Austin’s dominant grocer — HEB Grocery Company LP — will soon build its smallest store in the chain in downtown San Antonio, a harbinger of what may come to Central Austin in the future.

The San Antonio-based company has spent the past decade going big-box to compete with stores such as Wal-Mart but it got the OK Wednesday night from San Antonio’s Historic and Design Review Commission to proceed with plans to open a 12,000-square-foot grocery store and gas station on South Flores Street and East Cesar Chavez Boulevard.

HEB doesn’t have a store in downtown Austin, which is served by the flagship store of Austin-based Whole Foods Market Inc. (Nasdaq: WFM) and a few Royal Blue Grocery stores, which are also based here.

The store in downtown San Antonio will be about one-sixth the size of an average HEB grocery store. A typical HEB store is 70,000 to 80,000 square feet.

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