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Jun 21, 2007 11:12 AM

Henry's to be sold off?

Linked below is an interesting article from today's U-T - to summarize, Whole Foods will not be acquiring the Henry's grocery chain. Instead, a private equity firm will buy it.

Personally, I am pretty happy about this development, assuming that the private equity firm doesn't break Henry's up and sell it for parts. On the rare occasions that my husband and I eat store-prepared foods for dinner, we go to Whole Foods or Bristol Farms; otherwise, my local Henry's (University City) has almost everything I need (we go to Von's maybe once a month to buy a few select items) at lower prices. And, there's just something I like about the place.

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  1. I use the Henry's (ok) and the Wild Oats (better) in my area, but I'd much rather have a Whole Foods. As the article stated, many of Henry's products don't meet the higher standards of Whole Foods. Henry's tries to be like Whole Foods, but it won't make a total commitment. I like their grass-fed beef a lot, their Natural Living section and the lines of organic food they carry, but most of the other meat is what you'd find in a Ralph's. Same for the produce (although better priced), tired seafood dept., many baked goods loaded with trans fat, lower-tier wines, etc. I'll go there if I'm in the area, but I can find better elsewhere, except for the grass-fed beef. The store was spruced up recently to enhance its saleability, which helps visually,but I'm not at all sure how having a subsidiary of Smart & Final as new owners would increase Henry's quality overall. It could easily be upgraded, if they had the desire to do so--let's hope they will.

    1. i agree with henry's being just ok. their grass fed beef and steaks are excellent. the produce isn't top notch, but can be a good deal occasionally and they have lots of goodies in the bulk item bins. the only time i go there is when i see they have something i need on sale, otherwise it just easier to go elsewhere. my only real complaint is that the bread and bakery section is awful.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DoctorQuality

        The Henry's in University City and the one on Genessee at Balboa have in store bakeries with fresher and different products than the Henry's in Santee.

      2. Being a full time student, I generally can't afford Whole Foods, so Henry's and even Wild oats is more on my budget line.

        1. I'm in the same lines as SRosie. I really like Whole Foods but my budget will not let me shop there on a regular basis for groceries. I go there maybe every other week to get a few items that I can't find anywhere else. But I shop mostly at Henry's (Genesee & Poway) for everything. And I think from an economic stand point, Henry's is the ideal place to go. Plus, my little sister really enjoys their freshly baked blueberry scones.

          1. henry's produce quality is not so good. Bruised and overly ripe/soft fruit all over the place

            8 Replies
            1. re: clayfu

              Maybe I am mistaken, but when I first moved to San Diego in the summer of 1999, I thought that Henry's had better produce - but that it slipped pretty quickly. Did the sale to Wild Oats have an effect on the way they did things?

              I still like shopping at Henry's, but I've noticed that things do vary from store to store, and you have to be pretty careful with what you select.

              1. re: clayfu

                A few months ago, I would have disagreed with you on the produce quality, but I bought some cherries, blueberries, grapes and peaches there last week and wasn't happy. The berries and cherries became mushy after 2 days and the cherries didn't have that bright flavor to them. The grapes weren't sweet and crisp, either. The peaches were hard and flavorless (sometimes I've had peaches and nectarines that were firm but still very sweet).

                I now buy my fruit at Costco - their cherries this week are firm and have that sweet-tart flavor.

                Veggies, though, I've still had good luck at Henry's. And you can't beat their bulk item prices.

                1. re: leanneabe

                  yeah veggies and meat are fine at Henry's ( i love buying veggies there) but their fruit is no good in my opinion.

                  1. re: clayfu

                    Henry's doesn't have any organic and/or local meat. And most vegetables and fruits are mostly non-organic and often lower quality.

                    1. re: honkman

                      Actually Henry's has a ton of natural grass fed beef and lots of chicken without hormones, antibiotics etc...

                      Also, they designate on their produce cards which produce is a) organic and/or b)local. In fact, I think they do the best job of sourcing and identifying local produce. Further, about 1/3 of their produce is organic that seems like quite a lot to me.
                      Much more then my local supermarkets and I choose not to go to Whole Foods that often as I find that they are often times doubling & tripling the cost on the exact same item that Trader Joe's has. I understand that they carry higher end items that cannot be found elsewhere and for those I will stop.

                      1. re: jturtle

                        The last time I was at Henry's was 8-9 months ago and it is good to hear that they increased their organic produce. Before that it was often hard to know what produce was organic and/or local and what not.
                        "Natural" meat means nothing. There are no regulation regarding the use of the word "natural". As long as it is not certified organic I wouldn't trust the word natural on the meat packages. I also looked into the "natural" meat producer for Henry's sometime ago and the information I got didn't convince me enough that they raise their animals in a way I would like to see.
                        I am also curious what exact same items you find at Trader Joe's for half the price as WF. The produce at TJ is always prepacked so you never know what you are getting without feeling and smelling it (in addition you are also producing a lot of unnecessary waste with the plastic packaging). Their cheese is horrible, it gets mold very fast. Their meat is mainly non-organic (and Theo Albrecht, German billionaire who owns Aldi (large supermarket chain in Germany know for low quality, especially for meat) also owns Trader Joe) and I don't care for processed food. I mainly go to TJ for the nuts and sometimes their salads as a good lunch option.

                        1. re: honkman

                          I can think of one item off-hand that TJ´s has for about half price of Henry´s, and that´s these organic pop tarts. They´re like $2.19 at TJ´s, and $3.99 at Henry´s (on Midway). I´m sure there´s more, although they don´t exactly share many items.

                          I used to shop at Henry´s exclusively, but at some point I noticed their produce being of lower and lower quality, and so I switched. I think TJ´s is a nightmare because they´re so small, and I think Whole Foods is too pricey (and also a nightmare around lunchtime).

                          Also, Henry´s cheese gets really moldy also, because of the way they package it (cutting from a large block and saran-wrapping). It´s the same at TJ´s. You really need to check the packing date and the type of cheese you are buying.

                          I don´t usually buy produce at TJ´s, because of the weird packaging. I´ve never had any problems when I did, though.

                          1. re: ekomega

                            If any of you are willing to make the drive, the best everyday produce I've found in San Diego is at People's Co-Op in Ocean Beach. Their stuff is almost all organic, of high quality, and if you shop in season their prices are very reasonable. I've seen some amazing stuff shopping there. I go once a week and am grateful that we have a place like this in SD.