Leaving the market
BY KYLE ARNOLD World Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
7/04/12 at 5:28 AM
The Homeland supermarket chain will shutter its lone Tulsa store at 31st Street and Harvard Avenue on Sunday as the company continues to diminish its presence in northeastern Oklahoma.
A company spokesman said the store has not been profitable for many years, and it did not make sense financially to continue to operate.
"The decision to close the store is based on the economics," said Phil Payment, vice president of marketing and merchandising for Homeland's parent company, Edmond-based HAC Inc.
Inside the store at 3139 S. Harvard Ave. on Tuesday, employees were cleaning out meat and cold food cases, and the supermarket was discounting remaining merchandise.
Payment was unsure how many employees work at the store or whether any would be relocated to other stores in the chain. The nearest Homeland grocery stores are in Pryor and Nowata.
The supermarket is located in a 40,000-square-foot property at the Ranch Acres shopping center. The building was constructed in 1980 for the Homeland store.
There are no plans to shutter other Homeland stores at this time, Payment said. Homeland has 44 stores in Oklahoma and one in Wichita.
Homeland once had more than a dozen stores in the Tulsa-area market, but it closed nine after filing for bankruptcy in 2001.
The closure is part of a series of changes for HAC, a new employee-owned company that formed at the beginning of the year after Association Wholesaler Grocers of Oklahoma City, a grocery distribution company, spun off the 76-store supermarket chain.
The employee-owned format was made possible through an employee stock plan.
HAC also operates the United of Oklahoma, Country Mart and Super Saver chains.
In March, HAC rebranded a Homeland store at 4001 S. State Highway 97 in Sand Springs into a Super Saver Cost Plus Foods store.
Payment said Super Saver is a low-cost, non-membership warehouse shopping format that tries to keep prices as low as possible.
"It's no secret that Reasor's was bringing in a store in the same shopping center" in Sand Springs, Payment said.
Tahlequah-based Reasor's LLC opened a new 64,000-square-foot store last week just a few yards north of the former Homeland store.
Customers can get transit tips
Tulsa Transit and INCOG are trying to work with senior citizens and people with disabilities who may be left without a nearby grocery option after Homeland closes its store at 3139 S. Harvard Ave. on Sunday.
"These closings often impact senior citizens the hardest," Clark Miller, director of the INCOG Area Agency on Aging, said in a statement. "If driving is not an option, they become reliant on family or friends for their basic necessities."
The agencies are directing area residents to take public buses to the nearby Reasor's store at 41st Street and Yale Avenue or the Food Pyramid store at 41st Street and Peoria Avenue.
The groups are holding a seminar for people who may be affected by the change inside the Homeland store at 9 a.m. Friday. The seminar is aimed to teach first-time riders about using the bus system.
Kyle Arnold 918-581-8380
The Homeland grocery store at 31st Street and Harvard Avenue has begun the process of shutting its doors. JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World