The Woodlands will lose a poplar source of dry aged beef, craft beer and other gourmet goodies with Hubbell & Hudson set to shutter its grocery store and cooking school. The closure will happen by March 12 but could come even sooner.
In the market's place, Hubbell & Hudson will expand its Waterfront restaurant and add private dining space. Hubbell & Hudson Kitchen, a more casual restaurant and market in another part of The Woodlands, is not affected by this decision.
The grocery store was a money loser in 2012, according to an internal document provided to CultureMap by a source. In addition, the document states that the company is concerned about Whole Foods Market's plans to open in The Woodlands and H-E-B's continued expansion. The company worked with consultants who determined "you do not have enough buying power to compete" with these large players, the Hubbell and Hudson document states.
It also notes that the grocery store has lost millions since its opening.
T he grocery store was a money loser in 2012, according to an internal document.
Some affected employees will be offered jobs with the company related to the expansion of both the bistro and catering operations. Those in "good standing" are eligible for unemployment, according to the document.
If the reaction on the 2000-member Facebook group The Woodlands/Spring area TX Foodie Club is any indication, local residents are surprised, but they are treating the still-unannounced decision as fact. The group's administrator, Kerry Stessel, revealed the closing to the group; his company, Hot Line Pepper Products, sells hot sauces at the market.
Stessel tells CultureMap that he learned of the closure from an employee in the receiving department who told him the company was placing the final order for his products. CultureMap contacted the Hubbell & Hudson CEO for comment, but he did not return a phone call Sunday.
Stessel is not sure things will change much for Woodlands foodies who have been shopping at Hubbell & Hudson. "I've seen the H-E-B which is right next door start carrying similar products," Stessel says. "I don't know if H-E-B sells foie gras and truffles. There might be people in The Woodlands who have to go elsewhere for those items."
With the timing of the closing being imminent but uncertain, there's only one thing left to do.
"I will probably use my gift card tomorrow," Stessel writes on the Foodie Club Facebook page.