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Abandoned grocery store on Camp Bowie


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#1 Jimmy

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 12:26 PM

Forgive me for the lack of photos, but if you regularly drive down the portion of Camp Bowie that is south/west of I-30, you know exactly what I'm talking about.  At the corner of Camp Bowie and Bigham Blvd/Clayton Road, there is an old grocery store that has been empty for years.  I believe it was a Sam's most recently, or perhaps a Kroger?

 

Anyway, it and the sketchy gas station out in front of it are a huge eyesore that only compound how aesthetically dis-pleasing that stretch of Camp Bowie is.  With a Tom Thumb about 500 yards down the road and a Sprouts under construction a half-mile away, it seems hard to believe that another grocery chain would move into the space (yesterday's news about H-E-B's current real estate spending in the area did get my hopes up momentarily).  

 

I'd love to hear/see ideas that folks on this board might have for the space.  



#2 Volare

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 03:25 PM

They're building another Sprouts over there??

 

4 miles to the existing one is too far. :rolleyes:



#3 johnfwd

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 03:47 PM

It was a Kroger's and, yes, I too wonder why it's been vacant all these years.



#4 John T Roberts

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 08:46 PM

I was going to reply this afternoon, but I didn't have enough time to write anything.  In answer to your question, I think it would make a great site for redevelopment.  I would demolish the building and the gas station and put up a mixed use project in it's place.  I would have ground floor local retail with residential above.  I haven't looked to see how many residential units the site or the zoning would support, but I could see maybe a four story building on that site. 

 

The block has a lot of history.  It was the site of the old Western Hills Hotel, which occupied the entire block.  It burned in September 1969 and was demolished in 1970.  Five of the twelve later built guesthouses actually are still standing.  The are on Waverly Way heading eastward to mid-block from Clayton Road E.  The old grocery store was built shortly thereafter for a Skaggs Albertsons Food & Drug Center.  It was later Skaggs Alpha Beta, Skaggs, Jewel-Osco, back to Albertson's, then Max, Winn-Dixie, and finally Kroger.  I also bet that I've missed a few names, as well. 



#5 SurplusPopulation

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 10:33 AM

I live in and grew up a few blocks from this. While I agree that a mixed use development would be good there I would miss that little gas station. I've been going there almost everyday for years and they are really nice people. :)

#6 salvag

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 08:20 AM

I've heard talks of the old Kroger being demolished and a new to DFW grocery chain moving in. Also a RaceTrac is building on that site. Anyone know more or have any site plans?

#7 Jimmy

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 09:45 AM

We were discussing this in another thread.  The Racetrac is confirmed, and the old gas station is already completely demolished.  The rumor I and others had heard regarding the grocery store was that German chain Lidl was looking at it.  I had not previously heard that they were planning to demolish the current building.



#8 BlueMound

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 01:03 PM

A small article in 76107 magazine mentioned that Lidl is still working on plans to open in the old Kroger location.

#9 Dismuke

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 11:11 AM

For Lidl's sake, I hope somebody raised and they carefully thought through certain red flags about putting another grocery store in a location where so many have already come and gone.  There is such a thing as a "burned" location (no pun intended with the 1969 Western Hills fire).

 

Observe that once one goes westward down Camp Bowie past the Tom Thumb shopping center there is an abrupt transformation to where virtually all of the retail consists of ageing buildings and strip centers that now cater primarily to businesses that require low rent type space and do not rely on traffic generated by a cluster of other nearby retailers. It is as if there is a certain mental boundary beyond which people from the opposite side of I-30 do not associate with the Camp Bowie shopping district and will drive past only when they need to get to a certain Point B (for example, to access destinations beyond the traffic circle.)

 

I suppose one could explain away some of the location's previous closings.  Winn Dixie, for example, had been in a long decline in this market (and elsewhere) so its pull out from Texas was not necessarily reflective of this given store.  On the other hand, one wonders if Winn Dixie's going into that location in the first place was more out of desperation to move out of its tiny 1960s locations and this space just happened to be available. 

 

The failure of Kroger to make a go of the location ought to give pause.  Kroger is the most capable of the traditional grocery store chains that operate in the Metroplex - and they are the only one that has maintained and even expanded its market share in the face of competition from both Walmart and specialty type stores.  They successfully operate stores in both upper and lower income neighborhoods.  If Kroger could not make a go of the location - that suggests to me the problem might be with the location.

 

All of this brings to mind a conversation I observed on a different forum where I sometimes lurk.  Several people were expressing concern that Lidl is being reckless and taking on a lot of risk in their USA expansion.  The company is entering the USA market for the very first time and is, from the start, expanding very quickly.  While they are highly successful in other countries there are differences between counties that one must understand and learn about.   Lidl is expanding quickly on the east coast and then jumping all the way over to expanding in Texas - which is very different culturally than the east coast.  So they must very quickly learn the ins and outs of a new country plus learn the significant regional differences within that country while, at the same time, worrying about the normal logistics of a rapid expansion.

 

There is a reason why strong regional chains such as H-E-B, Publix and Wegmans tend to dominate their markets and make things difficult for the larger Krogers/Albertsons-Safeways/Walmarts:  They understand the nuances of their local markets and operate their companies accordingly.  Big clunky national chains have a harder time being as agile.

 

Examples of successful chains expanding without testing the waters abound.  Walmart expanded into Germany and was one of the few examples where the company pulled out of a market entirely.  They did not fully appreciate that what worked in the USA would not resonate in Germany where even high income people are often more frugal in many respects than are Americans with much lower incomes.  Walmart usually goes into a country and blows away the less efficient legacy operators.  But the Germans figured out efficiency and low prices long before Walmart entered the market. Given the country's long history of discount retail, Walmart never was able to offer a price advantage  - and given that, why go there?  Closer to home was Food Lion's massive and expensive expansion into Texas in the 1990s.   They built a bunch of brand new rinky dink stores that were carbon copies of what they offered in the southeast. They were a total flop.  At the time, Texans valued big stores and convenience and were not as price conscious as people in the southeast.

 

By contrast, Lidl's German competition Aldi South (which operates USA Aldi stores) and Aldi North (which operates Trader Joes) were in the USA for decades prior to their recent rapid expansion.

 

In the end, the question for Lidl in Texas is going to be: given that Aldi and Trader Joes are both here serving their respective price conscious demographics and are expanding and given that outside of the Metroplex is H-E-B which is a full line, full service grocer with extremely competitive pricing - what does Lidl offer that they don't and why should one go to Lidl verses the other places?  I don't know the answer to that as I have never visited a Lidl.

 

And perhaps everything I have written here will turn out to be utter nonsense.  I am not an expert on commercial real estate and my only experience with the grocery business is as a customer and observer.  I certainly have no money at stake on this - so if nothing else, it will be fun to see an additional player come to the market and see how it all turns out.


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#10 johnfwd

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 08:19 AM

I hope you're proven wrong about the location as the reason for the demise of Kroger Supermarket.  Your psychoanalysis of prospective shoppers traveling west of Camp Bowie Boulevard may have been true several years ago.  But recently some new commercial establishments have appeared on either side of Camp Bowie in the vicinity of the former Kroger property.  Business seems to be thriving.






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