FRISCO, Texas — United Supermarkets LLC is riding a wave of growth in the northern suburbs of Dallas and Fort Worth.
The Lubbock-based company opened four new stores in the past 18 months, and is building a 200,000-square-foot distribution center at the Alliance Gateway Park in the Fort Worth suburb of Roanoke.

It is scheduled to open by September.

For now, the company, which operates 50 stores under the United Supermarkets, Market Street and Amigos banners, is servicing its DFW-area stores from its Lubbock distribution center.

There are six of its upscale Market Street banner stores in DFW suburbs.

In-house prepared meals are a specialty at the Frisco store, said Courtney Tolbert, regional marketing manager.

“Everything is prepared here at the store,” Tolbert said.

Produce manager Casey Anderson said the store stocks about 1,000 Stock Keeping Units with a strong focus on local produce.

“We try to carry as much variety as we can,” he said.

Market Street defines local as anything within a day’s drive.

In North Texas, that includes squash, tomatoes, okra, watermelon, cantaloupe, soft fruit, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, greens and onions.

Produce managers have a lot of freedom to decide the look of their departments and frequently use cross-promotions to draw attention.

That can be as simple as a cup of grapefruit spoons on an end cap of Texas grapefruit.

“Our management wants to see a lot of cross-merchandising wherever we can,” he said.

The store also uses as much promotional and point-of-sale material as it can get. The Dole Salad Guide featured prominently in the cooler, for example.

United also plans to add the NuVal nutritional rating system to help customers identify healthful food options.

United tried a test of its own rating system in early 2009, but found the program from NuVal LLC, Braintree, Mass., to be a better fit, said Eddie Owens, director of corporate communications.

“Right now, we are working toward a March 2010 rollout in our Dallas-Fort Worth area stores and we will take it chain-wide as quickly as possible,” he said.

“Our company is very committed to our health/wellness initiative and we believe the NuVal program will be a tremendous benefit for our guests as well as our team members.”