“This is the best Super 1 store in the history of the company,” Brad Brookshire, board chairman for Brookshire Grocery Co., said. “We've never had a before and after so dramatic as the store next door to this store.”
The Super 1 Foods store, at 1105 E. Gentry Parkway, replaced the smaller, 27-year-old store next door to it and is the second one of its kind to offer a larger selection of produce, bakery and deli products, as well as have a new design, Mike Terry, executive vice president of retail operations for Brookshire Grocery Co. said. The first store with the new prototype opened about six months ago in Carencro, La.
Dozens of elected officials, Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce members, Brookshire Grocery Co. representatives and customers gathered Wednesday at the new Tyler store for the grand opening and ribbon-cutting celebration.
Football legend and Tyler native Earl Campbell joined in the festivities, helping cut the ribbon, grilling up some of his famous sausages and signing autographs for a long line of fans that snaked around the front of the building.
About 300 people attended the event, a Brookshire's representative said.
“This is a great day for Brookshire Grocery Co.,” Brooskshire said. “This store's history is very important to the 155 stores that we have; 13,000 employee partners that we have.”
He said his grandfather, Wood Brookshire, opened the first store in 1928 in downtown Tyler. When he wanted to expand the company, in the 1930s, he added another store here. “He didn't look south, he didn't look west, he didn't look east, he looked north,” Brookshire said.
The second store was originally behind where the Tyler Municipal Court now stands, at 813 N. Broadway Ave. In the 1970s, the store was where the Municipal Court and Northeast Public Health District are now, and in the 1980s Brookshire's bought the Kroger store next door.
“This is actually the fourth spot for store No. 2 … in the whole history of the company,” Brookshire said of Super 1 Foods on Gentry Parkway, adding that without the second store being successful, “We wouldn't be here today.”
Brookshire said the company has been in business for 84 years because of its great people.
“We're here today … because of our customers, that they've been loyal and dedicated and stuck with us,” Brookshire said. “We didn't have the greatest facility, but today we've got probably the best store of its kind…”
He said the store offers more than 100 new items in the produce department alone, such as fresh cut fruits, juices and spices. It also offers an expanded variety of products in its full service bakery and deli departments and a new drive-thru pharmacy.
“It's about value and inside value is price, service and quality,” Terry said.
The new Super 1 Foods store on Gentry Parkway is 58,000 square feet — about 20,000 square feet larger than the store it is replacing, Terry said. Construction began about a year ago on the 14.6-acre property.
The old store will be demolished to make room for an expanded parking lot.
“We wanted to invest in North Tyler,” Terry said of why Brookshire's chose to replace that particular Super 1 Foods store. “This is state of the art. This is as good as we can do.”
The store on 3828 Troup Highway was updated about six months ago with new signage, concrete floors, nicer bathrooms, a new décor package and expanded variety, Terry said, adding that all Super 1 Foods stores will be given a facelift.
All Super 1 Foods also have added carousal bagging to its services so customers will not have to bag their own groceries, he said.
The store at 113 NNW Loop 323 was a Brookshire's turned into an upgraded Super 1 Foods store in October. Terry said there was a Super 1 Foods store just east of the Brookshire's on the loop and the two were combined into one. Because the Brookshire's store was a newer building and better facility, Terry said they thought they could do a better job upgrading it.
The 55,758-square-foot store received a drive-thru window for its expanded pharmacy, has new décor and paint and expanded products and services.
The two new Super 1 Foods stores in North Tyler are the only two locally to offer a tortilleria, making fresh corn and flour tortillas and tortilla chips in the stores. “It's really doing well,” he said.
Terry said about 60 employees were added to the Super 1 Foods on Gentry, making a total of 154 employees at the store. The renovated store on Loop 323 added 30 employees and the store on Troup Highway added 15 workers.
“We're planning on a big boost in business,” Terry said. “We're just excited to invest in North Tyler. It's been good to us, and we know we'll get that in return.”
Price Arredondo, director of the Hispanic Business Alliance, said Super 1 Foods has been one of the organization's partners for the last few years. “We know we have a great future with them,” he said. “As we look around, this is going to be a very successful store. … They've done a wonderful job.”
Tyler City Councilman Martin Heines said Brookshire Grocery Co. has been wonderful corporate citizens. “We're proud that they live in our community and do what they do for us,” he said.
State Rep.-Elect Matt Schaefer said the new Super 1 Foods store was a great investment in the community. “It's the investments in the community that sets Brookshire Grocery Co. from all the rest,” he said.
Steve Jenkins, store director of Super 1 Foods on Gentry, said the No. 1 reason Brookshire's invested in the community was the community.
“Without the faithful shoppers here we wouldn't have this new store,” he said.
Jenkins introduced the store's managers to the crowd gathered inside the store. He presented $1,000 checks from Super 1 Foods to Dogan Middle School, the Boys & Girls Club of East Texas and Douglas Elementary School.