AUSTIN (KXAN) — A lack of grocery stores in Del Valle has pushed some people in the community to reach out for help.
On Monday Austin City Council Member Vanessa Fuentes sent a letter to H-E-B, asking them to build a store in Del Valle.
“We want to see H-E-B, set up shop and break ground on their property,” Fuentes said.
Fuentes said she has been talking with the company for a while, but the need for a store is evident with all the growth and lack of options.
“There are a few grocery store options, like the dollar general, like JD’s Market. The challenge with that is they are smaller scale,” Fuentes said.
Mark Reinstein recently sent a letter to H-E-B as well, asking them to build a store.
Reinstein said he has to make sure to plan accordingly when taking the 20 to 25-minute drive to Bastrop or Austin to visit the grocery store.
“Because it is so far away we want to keep a stocked pantry,” said Reinstein.
Del Valle is considered a food desert with the limited grocery stores in the area. Reinstein said he’s open to any chain opening up.
“We are in that desert,” Reinstein said. “Well, any one of you guys (grocery stores) want to come down, come on!”
Many people in the area do rely on public transit, but Fuentes said getting to and from the current large grocery stores can be a problem.
“It is even more challenging to get to the grocery store coupled with limited public transportation options,” Fuentes said.
According to the Central Texas Food Bank Del Valle data, out of about 21,384 people in the area, 3,521 people are considered food insecure.
Reinstein said he hopes a new grocery store would offer healthier and more affordable options for residents.
“H-E-B owns two parcels of land in the area,” Fuentes said.
KXAN reached out to H-E-B to see if they had property in Del Valle and what their plans were.
“As we review our long-term planning options it often makes sense to purchase property well in advance of our current real estate needs. Development in Southeast Austin and Del Valle has been encouraging and it made sense to invest in land holdings in Del Valle for our future aspirations to bring a store to this community. We expanded our H-E-B Home Delivery service to Del Valle residents, and are also making substantial investments in food access partnerships in effort to take immediate action towards improving food access.”-Leslie Sweet, H-E-B Director of Public Affairs
“They own the land, they have every intention to open at some point in the future, but they could not provide any details as to a timeline,” Fuentes said.
Both Fuentes and Reinstein tell KXAN they plan on having continued conversations with H-E-B, as well as any other large chains that are interested in the fast growing area.