More discount stores popping up in our area

January 24, 2012 4:00:51 PM PST
If you are a budget-minded shopper, then you will be happy to hear that more discount stores are opening up in our area.

H-E-B's owned and operated grocery stores called Joe V's Smart Shop is opening up Wednesday in Baytown. And discount store Alco just opened up two locations. We went to check out the two budget-minded stores to see if they'll Stretch Your Dollar.

Their motto is "outrageously low prices," and that's the reason why those who shop at Joe V's Smart Shop keep coming back.

"It's got everything I need and it's cheap for me and my family because we are on a budget," Joe V's shopper Joe Key said.

"They are actually a whole lot lower than everywhere else I have been and everywhere I have seen -- a whole lot lower," Joe V's shopper Monica Puentes said.

Now the store is opening their fifth location in Baytown off Garth Road and Rollingbrook.

"We are currently looking at more sites and we continue to see if there are more areas within the area, not just within Houston, that we can bring the format to," said H-E-B Senior Vice President Armando Perez.

At Joe V's, we found great prices on produce: small avocados are 10 for a dollar, cucumbers are four for a dollar and bananas are three pounds for a buck. We also spotted big meat bundles: 16 pounds of meat for just $20!

So what's the catch? At Joe V's, the store is able to offer low prices because it's a no-frills warehouse store. It's cash, debit card or Lone Star card only.

Also, compared to the 30,000-plus items at a regular H-E-B, at Joe V's, there's less than a third. There are also no baggers or stockers, so all the items are still in its shipped boxes.

"I ain't always be about the setting. You can come here and get what you want regardless. I ain't got to go to a super upscale store to get what I want," shopper Alfred Johnson said.

Across town off Gessner in northwest Houston, little-known discount store Alco just opened up this location and another in Pasadena.

"We are a smaller version of your Walmart, Target stores; we do have the same departments that they do," said Frank Amaro with Alco.

Alco, which is headquartered in Kansas, traditionally has opened up in small towns across the country but opened up in Houston to give consumers an affordable option where there wasn't one.

"Big markets, big cities -- a lot of people don't want to travel with the big traffic, they want to go somewhere and get it and go back home," Amaro said.

There you can find discount groceries, drug store items, bicycles, TVs, linens and clothes. We found the items on sale were competitive to what you might see at a Target.

Some of these stores may not be near your neighborhood, but it may be worth the trip for the low prices.

Aldi is another discount supermarket chain much like Joe V's. This chain recently flooded the Dallas-Ft. Worth market with more than 35 stores, but there is no word if they plan to open stores in Houston.