(Sept. 9, 12:11 p.m.) Serving specific consumer segments is not new to United Supermarkets LLC.

The 48-store Lubbock, Texas-based chain operates Amigos United, a format targeting the Southwest’s Hispanic consumers, and 10 years ago it opened its first Market Street store, designed for time-starved business professionals.

The eighth Market Street store, which opened Aug. 29 in the north Dallas suburb of Frisco, has a research and development kitchen and in-store health care clinic — a first for the Market Street banner but the fourth in the United chain.

“Market Street offers the busy shopper an alternative to the traditional shopping experience,” said Eddie Owens, director of corporate communications for United Supermarkets. “Market Street stores offer many prepared foods to go as well as in-store restaurants. It’s a great alternative for today’s busy lifestyle.”

But a big change for company is not what’s in the 70,000-square-feet store — it’s in the parking lot.

The high-end store has what the company calls A Taste of Market Street.

“It is a mini version of the big store with all the quick access and convenience including many of the items available in the big store: fresh produce, gourmet meals to go and bakery, as well as a fuel station,” Owens said.

The mini store, a separate building in a corner of the parking lot in the shopping center where the Market Street store serves as an anchor, he said.

At the main Frisco location, which became the leading-selling store in the chain its first day in operation, a wide variety of fresh produce is a priority, Owens said, including organic items.

The company’s three brands, United, Amigos and Market Street, are now in 28 Texas cities, Owens said. Following the original Market Street in Wichita Falls, the company built one in Amarillo and two in Lubbock before shifting attention to the Dallas-Fort Worth market. Another store is scheduled to open near Fort Worth in December, he said, and a sixth Dallas-Fort Worth area store under construction is scheduled to open in Plano in 2009.

When the Market Street concept began to take hold, the game plan was to build and open three new stores annually over a five-year period, Owens said.

“Due to the sagging economy, we may not be able to meet those original plans, but we’ll continue to grow as much as the economy permits,” he said.

Texas retail chain offers a taste in parking lot
United Supermarkets LLC, Lubbock, Texas, opened the company's newest Market Street store in Frisco, Texas, Aug. 29. “The produce section in our Market Street stores is huge, (and includes) a good assortment of organics,” says Eddie Owens, director of corporate communications for United Supermarkets. “Market Street offers the busy shopper an alternative to the traditional shopping experience.”

Courtesy United Supermarkets LLC