Saturday, May 28, 2016

Another One Disappearing

A vintage photo of the first HEB in Laredo appeared in the Laredo Times on March 15, 2015.  The supermarket giant was commemorating its 110th anniversary.  The original store was situated on the corner of San Agustin and Farragut.  It took up about half a block.  Today the Times informed the public that the store is closing next month.

Photo by Victor Strife

HEB is citing market conditions and the need for extensive renovations as its reasons for closing the downtown landmark.  Store patrons will have to shop at nearby locations.  But it'll be tough since the store caters to a lot of pedestrian traffic.  Elderly residents in the downtown area depend on the varied goods that HEB has to offer; as well as downtown merchants and shoppers from Nuevo Laredo.

A store spokesman said it would provide complimentary bus tickets for those that live in downtown Laredo.  But is that really feasible?  The closest HEB from the Metro bus terminal is the one on Guadalupe.  The bus doesn't exactly stop at the store's entrance.  The public would have to cross a busy Chihuahua St. and Guadalupe St. to get to and from the HEB in the old Heights neighborhood.

Elected officials are planning to meet with store personnel to figure out what can be done to accommodate the downtown public.  But HEB is already thinking of relocating its 80-some employees to other stores.

For the sake of the downtown public, I hope a grocery store sets up shop after HEB is gone.  This may be an opportunity for another provider to meet the needs of those in the historic business district.  Whoever is there in the future, I'll be sure to show my support.

(courtesy photo)

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