Shopping for groceries. Love it or hate it?
Are you a prepared shopper with a grocery list, an expandable coupon organizer and a bevy of reusable totes?
Or are you the frantic shopper who runs in with good intentions and then your eyes glaze over with defeat somewhere in the frozen waffle aisle?
Whatever kind of shopper you are, we all have something in common — we need food — and most of us have preferences when it comes to choosing the place to shop for our groceries.
It’s the great grocery store debate in Lake Travis:
Where do you like to shop for groceries in Lake Travis?
Which grocery store do you shop at most of the time?
I find it interesting that many residents in the Lake Travis area have a definite preference of where they ideally like to shop, but that’s not always where they go. Why? Two answers stand out — convenience and parking (or the lack thereof).
If you live in Lakeway, Bee Cave, or Spicewood, you probably shop at H-E-B Bee Cave. It’s a beautiful store (96k square feet). But what’s up with the parking lot? Does it always seem full to you? Last week one of my friends quipped, “I don’t get it. Are they giving away gold in the produce department?” Buy a Granny Smith and get a free Rolex.
If you live on the north side of Mansfield Dam, your go to place is most likely H-E-B Four Points. Try pulling out of that parking lot during rush hour traffic. We have classifications for the types of drivers that emerge at the intersection of 620 & 2222.
And if you live in Steiner Ranch, you have your very own Randalls. Because … does anyone living outside of Steiner Ranch ever grocery shop there?
The H-E-B Dilemma
In chatting with other Lake Travis residents, I’ve realized we all tend to have a similar approach for that Bee Cave store due to the parking.
First, we do the drive-by, looking for that elusive rock star parking space from 620 headed into Lakeway. If we see something promising, we make an easy right turn (avoiding the dreaded left turn at all costs!) and keep our fingers crossed. We tend to do about two laps and if we can’t find a space, we give up.
The space must also be going with the “flow” of parking lot traffic because if you gracefully turn into a one-way space pointed in the wrong direction, people get really mad and point to the arrows painted on the ground. Uhm, er … that’s just plain awkward for everyone involved.
If H-E-B is too crowded, the next stop is almost always Randalls. Then again, what about Whole Foods?
Whole Foods Foodies
Shout out if you’re a loyal Whole Foods shopper! If so, do you buy all of your groceries there or just certain items?
Whole Foods Market has an impeccable selection of natural foods, but it seems pricey if you’re doing the bulk of your shopping there. I’ve seen carts loaded down with heaps of groceries and I wonder, “Holy Wild Alaskan Salmon! How much is that gonna cost?”
Randalls by Default
For most of my friends and neighbors in the Lakeway area, our default grocery store is Randalls. Why? Because it’s the easiest grocery store to reach as fast as possible. Other than the infamous short-cycle light at Lohmans Crossing, it’s relatively painless. Plus, the store seems smaller (90k square feet) and easier to maneuver, especially if you know the layout by heart. The day they moved the Capri Sun to a new aisle, the confusion was palpable for about a week.
Although the Randalls parking lot is not without its share of issues too. Let’s just say people could be more polite to their fellow shoppers. Reverse lights mean, “I’m trying to go backwards, please!” not “Hey, will you speed up and wreck me on purpose while I’m gingerly backing out with my head on a swivel, trying not to run over pedestrians who seem to meander into moving vehicles like it’s an episode of the Walking Dead?!”
The talk coming out of the Steiner Ranch neighborhood is that Randalls is more like a convenient store. Most of you will find a way to fit a trip to H-E-B Four Points in your schedule, but if you forgot something — or you just need a couple of items for a get together — thank heavens for Randalls in Steiner Ranch!
Because 3.8 Miles Matter
Now let’s revisit my initial questions.
Where do you like to shop and where do you actually end up?
I pose this question because the majority of people I’ve spoken to prefer H-E-B because it has a larger selection of brands and lower prices, yet they shop at Randalls because it’s easier. Agree or disagree?
Enter Shiny New H-E-B
So what does this mean for Randalls when the new H-E-B in Oaks at Lakeway opens? Remember when Whole Foods Market initially arrived and that was “the” place to shop?
In less than a month, Randalls and the biggest, newest H-E-B in Central Texas will be staring at each other across 620. Will both emerge victorious? Time will tell.