Monday, May 4, 2009

With United Supermarkets converting one of its Amarillo stores to an Amigos United -- its store brand that carries more Mexican and Latin American products -- an online discussion by the RetailWire Brain Trust seems relevant.

Reader comments posted to a Houston Chronicle story last week caught the attention of the Brain Trust, a group of people in the retail and marketing biz.

The article covered the opening of a Supermercado de Walmart at Spring Branch. There are, and will be, other Supermercados, and a Hispanic-themed Sam's Club, called a Mas Club, will open this summer.

The formats put emphasis on Hispanic products in the inventory and make other changes, like printing signs in Spanish and English.

One reader commented:

"What a bunch of hooey. they have to have thier own 'Sam's Club'? The
current ones arent good enough? This is really sad. I guess every other ethnic
group will want their own Sams Club. Since I am Irish-American, I want a
Paddy-O'toole's warehouse. Filled with beer and potatoes."

Some others roughly followed the same vein.

"I'm looking for a ... Caucasian Superstore to cater to whites."

The Brain Trust discussion nails down Walmart's reasoning with its own.

"Retail can be a bridge between cultures, and I think Walmart is doing a
much better job here than they had in the past. It's not like they converted the
whole store to Spanish-only. It's not like they converted a store in rural Iowa
to this format. Do people protest the Korean grocer? The Indian market?"

"If a business chooses to provide a shopping environment, products, signage
or anything else to cater to a customer -- seems like it is smart business to

And, check out the comment of one Houston account executive:

"Not many Houstonians are going to bat an eye at Wal-Mart opening a store
that caters directly to the Latin element. Fiesta has been doing it since 1972
and operates 49 massive stores in Texas, 29 of which are in Houston. It's where
we go to get fresh corn tortillas and Tamarind flavored anything. ... So maybe
the question should be 'What makes Wal-Mart so sure it can compete with the
already saturated market of Latin-Centric purveyors in Houston?' I'm sure the
answer is the same way they dominate every market ... huge buying power,
efficiency of scale and low low prices."

Amarillo also already has grocers that provide a product mix aimed at Hispanic customers. United Supermarkets will try to tap into that market when the remodeling of its store at East Interstate 40 and Grand Street is completed and opened under the Amigos United banner.

I'm looking forward to seeing what's there that I can't get at the so-called "regular" stores.

1 comment:

cindy said...

We think alike, Karen. I want to check out the new offerings as well. To me, food is an adventure.