WinCo picks site in North Richland Hills for supermarket

Posted Friday, Jul. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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North Richland Hills will be the next site for WinCo Foods, a discount supermarket that is moving into North Texas.

The Boise, Idaho-based company will build an 85,000-square-foot store at Dick Lewis Drive and Thaxton Parkway, at the site of a self-serve carwash and an empty retail building that will be torn down. The store is expected to open late next year.

North Richland Hills plans to offer tax incentives. City Manager Mark Hindman said the package of sales and property tax incentives could reach $250,000 over five years. In the first year, sales tax rebates will amount to 50 percent of what the store owes the city under its 1 percent general fund sales tax, Hindman said. That would decrease to 10 percent in the fifth year.

North Richland Hills is the third North Texas location selected by the company. A store at Sycamore School and Crowley roads in south Fort Worth is expected to open early next year, along with another in McKinney. The company had focused its business in seven Western states, including California, Oregon and Washington.

Other Dallas-Fort Worth stores are planned, said Michael Read, WinCo vice president of public and legal affairs.

“We see that market as one that can support several of our stores,” Read said.

WinCo Foods looks like a hybrid between a warehouse club and a supermarket. It distinguishes itself by offering about 900 foods in bulk. Shoppers can collect how much they want by putting plastic bags underneath the openings in bins stocked with product.

The North Richland Hills store is expected to hire about 120 full-time and 80 part-time employees, according to city reports, with pay at or slightly above what other area supermarket employees earn, Read said.

Employees who work at least 24 hours a week are eligible for benefits, including medical, dental and vision insurance along with a pension.

Read said that based on its market studies, the company would have still chosen North Richland Hills without incentives. Hindman said the incentives were offered about 18 months ago to lure the company to the site.

The city wanted to land WinCo Foods because it would offer jobs, lure shoppers to other nearby stores and expand the city’s tax base, officials said.

“We’re not giving away any money,” Hindman said. “They have to bring something that’s in addition.”

When WinCo was being courted, North Richland Hills was struggling with empty storefronts in parts of the city. The past year has seen retail leasing activity rebound in Tarrant County’s third-largest city, with 64,000 residents.

Mayor Oscar Trevino said the expansion of Northeast Loop 820 was important to attracting WinCo.

“It’s a good thing to have them in North Richland Hills, especially in that location,” Trevino said. The existing buildings served their function well at one time, he said, “but it’s time for them to go.”

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