From Muleshoe up to Dalhart and over to Pampa, United Supermarkets keeps the Texas Panhandle well fed. The grocer has about 50 supermarkets, mostly in rural towns, under the United, Market Street, Amigos, and United Express banners. Its stores feature deli, floral, and bakery shops, as well as groceries, pharmacies (at most locations), and gas at some locales. Its larger Market Street format stocks more specialty and international foods. United Supermarkets runs its own distribution facility. H. D. Snell founded the firm in Sayre, Oklahoma, in 1916. He bucked the norms of the day by selling for cash -- instead of on credit -- at lower prices. United Supermarkets is owned and run by the Snell family.
To supply its stores with prepared foods, United Supermarkets operates Lubbock-based Praters Foods. Praters prepares holiday dinners, specialty cooked meats, casseroles, soups, desserts, and more for retailers and the food service industry under its own brand as well as private labels. The Texas supermarket operator also owns a 9,000-square-foot ice-making plant in Lubbock. The plant makes United's own brand of Kristal ice and has the capacity to produce five million pounds of ice during peak selling periods (those hot, hot Texas summers).
While privately-owned United Supermarkets doesn't report its financial results, the chain rang up an estimated $1.4 billion in sales in fiscal 2012 (ends January), up from $1.3 billion in fiscal 2011.
United Supermarkets has been experimenting with new formats and services to capture additional customers. In June 2012 the company converted a Market Street store in Lubbock to 24-hour operation in order to serve customers who keep unconventional hours. In 2011 the chain opened its first convenience store, United Express, in northwest Lubbock. The 3,100-square-foot store offers fresh foods along with more traditional convenience store fare, such as snacks and gas. The company's 52nd store is under construction in Lubbock.
Family-owned United Supermarkets is still led by the Snell family, now in its
fourth generation of management. Founder H. D. Snell's son, Robert Snell, is chairman of the board, while great grandsons Gantt and Matt Bumstead are co-presidents of the regional supermarket chain. – less