United Supermarkets cut the ribbon on a “fresh” new store today, Wednesday, Jan. 9 at the corner of 19th and Quaker in Lubbock. Doors opened following a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8 a.m.

The store is the company’s 11th location under the Market Street banner and third in Lubbock. At just over 71,000 square feet, it is the largest United store in the city and the second to be open 24 hours a day (the 50th and Indiana location went to 24 hours last summer and will remain so, although its pharmacy will assume regular business hours when the new store opens).

The grand opening comes on the heels of the closure of the company’s 29th Drive and Marsha Sharp Fwy. location, which shut its doors at 7 p.m. Monday. “We want to extend a very special thanks to our guests who have shopped with us faithfully for the past 22 years at our 29th Drive location and hope they will follow us to the new store,” said Sidney Hopper, chief operating officer of United Supermarkets, LLC.

The new location is complemented by a 3,100 square-foot United Express convenience store, which opened at the same address Dec. 27. An additional pad site on the corner of the property is being developed by an outside development group.

“This store is a next-generation store for our Lubbock guests, with a unique look and feel among any of 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’ve done 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.”

Approaching the store, guests will be drawn toward a single store 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 a conveniently located exit as they leave the checkout area.

“The intent is to encourage all guests to enter the same door in order to enhance traffic flow,” explained Tony Crumpton, executive vice president of facilities, fuel and supply for United Supermarkets, LLC.

Once inside, guests will immediately notice two dramatic changes from all other Market Street 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.”

Guests also will notice new shelf tags featuring “healthy attributes” that identify products in 10 different categories, such as low-sodium, heart-healthy, organic, gluten-free, etc., as well as the recently introduced “Dietitian’s Top Pick” program. Shelf tags also will include the NuVal™ Nutritional Scoring System, which rates the nutritional value of foods throughout the store on a scale of 1 to 100.

A recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that people who eat food with more favorable scores under the NuVal™ Nutritional Scoring System have a lower risk of chronic disease and have a better chance of living a longer, healthier life.

United was the first supermarket chain in Texas to adopt the NuVal system.

Other features for the health-conscious include “Heart-Healthy Shopping Guides” to assist with meal planning; an expanded line of health supplements and services; and “Shop with Our Dietitian” store tours.

The seating area will present a unique dining experience while offering almost double the capacity – eventually up to 250 seats – compared to other Market Street locations. “It will feature restaurant-style seating in a circular pattern, a ‘relaxation corner,’ free Wi-Fi connectivity, and indoor-outdoor seating,” Crumpton explained.

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

Other noticeable differences in the store are the result of requests from Market Street 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 to meet a wide array of tastes and health needs, including those needing a gluten-free diet.
  • The largest full-service meat/seafood department of any Market Street location and the first to offer Dry Aged USDA-Certified Angus Prime Beef. This will be the company’s 15th 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 allowing better stock availability and colder product.
  • Expanded center-store destination offerings for pet and baby needs as well as extended seasonal selections.
  • Expanded offerings in natural, organic and specialty bulk foods.
  • An expanded area devoted to health, wellness and beauty care.
  • The largest frozen food department in the company.

“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, noting the pharmacy will be open 24 hours a day to accommodate guests with prescription needs during the overnight hours.

Among the new store’s other features guests also should notice:

  • The concierge and wine steward desks will be located together, to assist guests with event planning including weddings, parties, business events and other special occasions.
  • Public restrooms will be located on both sides of the store.
  • An expanded checkout area – 11-12 regular check-stands, five express checkouts, four check-stands in food service and two in the coffee shop.
  • A food service area that is easier to navigate, allowing guests to place their order and pay for it in one line without being asked to stand in another line.

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

“We’ve made significant strides with this store to reduce our carbon footprint by using the latest high-efficiency HVAC (heating-ventilation-air conditioning) systems, maximizing use of LED (light-emitting diodes) lighting and high-efficiency fluorescents inside and outside the store, putting more dairy and deli cases behind doors to keep product fresher and reduce energy consumption, and adding landscaping touches to enhance the shopping experience and assure our company’s commitment to conservation,” he explained.

“Guests should also notice ‘light harvesting’ – using natural west Texas sunshine through skylights in combination with dimmable lighting to reduce energy consumption,” Crumpton added.

The company has worked with the Texas Department of Transportation to improve the appearance of the storm water catchment area on the southeast end of the property.

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