United Supermarkets has announced plans to open Lubbock’s third Market Street location, which will reflect United Supermarkets’ responsiveness to guests’ requests, a million-dollar investment in its health-and-wellness product line, and a visible effort to be an environmentally friendly corporate citizen.

Construction on the new store officially got under way recently at the southwest corner of 19th and Quaker, with the intent to have the store open in time for the Thanksgiving rush.

“This store will be a next-generation store for our Lubbock guests, with a unique look and feel among our Market Street locations – including our Dallas-Fort Worth stores,” said Wes Jackson, chief merchandising officer for United Supermarkets, LLC.

“The most significant difference will be in the merchandise presentation. We’re doing a lot of things to create destination points throughout the store, so that guests will feel like they are moving from one department to another as they shop,” Jackson added.

At 71,238 square feet, the store will be not only the largest United location in Lubbock, but the largest outside the DFW Metroplex. General contractor for the project will be Ridgemont Commercial Construction of Irving, which was chosen from four bidders with significant supermarket construction experience.

“One of the prerequisites in the bidding process was that local subcontractors be used in order to keep the crux of the payroll local,” noted Tony Crumpton, United’s executive vice president for facility, fuel and supply.

The store will face 19th Street, but will be accessible from all sides. The site also will include a 3,100-square-foot United Express convenience store and six-pump (12-car) fuel station offering all fuel grades, including diesel. Officials expect the convenience store to be open by late summer or early fall.

United is investing more than $14 million in the construction of the new Market Street and United Express stores, which together will employ approximately 400 team members. An additional pad site on the corner of the property will be the responsibility of Tao Development Group.

Approaching the store, guests will be drawn toward a single entrance, already a departure from all other Market Street locations. Although two canopies will be visible on the building’s north side, the smaller of the two will be over the exit, near the checkout area.

“The intent is to encourage all guests to enter the same door in order to enhance traffic flow,” Crumpton explained. “Once inside, guests will immediately notice two dramatic changes from all other United locations – the produce department at the front of the store and a large circular dining area to the left.”

“Guests will walk into ‘fresh’ the minute they enter the store, produce straight ahead and floral to the right,” Jackson said. “Produce is one of our best departments – a real differentiator for us. It will, we believe, continue to grow in importance for our guests as they become more health-conscious and change the way they eat.”

Other features for the health-conscious – already available at existing Market Street locations – include the popular Living Well Favorites menu, “Shop With Our Dietitian” store tours and the NuVal™ nutritional scoring system, which rates the nutritional value of foods throughout the store on a scale of 1 to 100. United was the first supermarket chain in Texas to adopt the NuVal system.

The company will soon roll out a “Dietitians’ Top Pick” shelf tag program, which will enhance the value of the NuVal program by identifying the health-wellness team’s recommended choices in each product category.

The seating area will present a unique dining experience from other Market Street locations while offering almost double the seating capacity (to a maximum of 254).

“It will feature restaurant-style seating in a circular pattern, a ‘relaxation corner,’ free Wi-Fi connectivity, and indoor-outdoor seating,” Jackson explained.

The exterior dining space will be enclosable using collapsible, accordion-style windows and heating capabilities to allow for outdoor seating year-round. “We believe it will provide a dining experience that matches our restaurant-quality food offerings,” Jackson added.

Other noticeable differences in the store are the result of requests from United shoppers. “This store will be a reflection of many of the things we have heard from our guests, in an effort to be a more complete one-stop-shopping experience,” Jackson said. Among them are:

• An expanded array of specialty, natural and organic offerings, which also will extend to all other Market Street locations in the coming months.

• The largest full-service meat/seafood department of any Market Street location. This will be the 15th United location to offer seafood certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

• The largest beer-wine department in any of its West Texas stores, including a large walk-in domestic beer vault.

• Expanded Center Store offerings in the bulk foods, pet, baby and seasonal sections.

“This store also will provide our first two-lane drive-thru pharmacy, which we feel will be especially beneficial to our guests given its proximity to the Lubbock medical district,” Jackson said.

Among the other features guests also should notice:
• The concierge and wine steward desks will be located together, to assist guests with event planning.
• Public restrooms will be located on both sides of the store.
• An expanded checkout area – 11 to 12 regular check-stands, four express checkouts, four check-stands in food service, two in the coffee shop and three in pharmacy.

The new store will be company’s most eco-friendly location as well, according to Crumpton.

“We’re making significant strides with the store to reduce our carbon footprint by using the latest high-efficiency HVAC (heating-ventilation-air conditioning) systems, maximizing use of LEDs (light-emitting diodes) and high-efficiency fluorescents inside and outside the store, and by putting more dairy and deli cases behind doors to keep product fresher and reduce energy consumption,” he explained.

“Guests should also notice lots of ‘light harvesting’ – using natural light through skylights and dimmable lighting,” Crumpton added.

The company also is working with Texas Department of Transportation to improve the appearance of the storm water catchment area on the south end of the property.