Six months later, Westwood Square community says its seeing changes at Las Palmas H-E-B

The Las Palmas store is set to undergo improvements, but no timeline has been set

SAN ANTONIO – Over the last six months, Jesusita Rios said the Westwood Square community has seen changes.

“This small district does have a voice and they do have needs,” Rios said.

Traffic has been tracked and the damaged pedestrian bridge has been taken down. Neighbors also said changes are happening inside their local H-E-B, at the Las Palmas location.

“It’s baby steps, but we’re getting there,” Rios said.

In the first episode of KSAT’s Know My Neighborhood Series, Westwood Square residents reported food past its best-use-by date, empty shelves, and even a building in decay.

“At the point when we first got in touch with KSAT, we were just at our ropes end,” Rios said. “There was so much going on as far as product availability plus expiration, plus the cleanliness of the store and the way it was very crowded and the displays in itself, it was not appealing at all.”

The USDA has classifications for a food’s quality with terms like “best if used by/before,” “sell-by” and “use-by.” Below are the definitions:

  • “Best if used by/before”: This date shows when a product will have its best flavor and quality. It’s not a purchase or safety date.
  • “Sell-by”: This date tells a store how long to display a product for sale and inventory management. It’s not a safety date.
  • “Use-by”: This date is the last date recommended for a food to be at its peak quality. It is not a safety date unless it’s for certain infant formulas.

The USDA said if a product is past one of these dates, it usually is still safe to be consumed unless spoilage is evident. But the food will not be of its best quality.

Before the first episode aired, KSAT took these concerns directly to H-E-B. Communicating with the public affairs department of the supermarket chain, KSAT asked on five separate occasions through emails if the department would comment on food past its “best if used by” date.

KSAT never got a direct response to those concerns. Instead, Valentino Lucio, a spokesperson for H-E-B, sent a statement commenting on the role that H-E-B provides in the San Antonio area, bringing “fresh and quality products.” That statement said H-E-B invests “in our communities.”

Lucio confirmed that the Las Palmas store is among the list of supermarket stores planned for renovation and enhancement projects in the near future. But he said no timeline is set for the project.

Over the last six months, KSAT has reached back out multiple times to Lucio looking for an updated statement on these ongoing neighborhood concerns. On April 15, Lucio gave an update.

“Work on the parking lot is complete,” Lucio said. “We don’t have any updates to share right now, but we’ll make sure to let you know when we do.”

Rios said she was relieved when the parking lot project was completed. She said she has noticed other changes inside the store too.

“The displays are more appealing. They are keeping to the expiration dates being seen,” Rios said. “It looks cleaner. It looks more welcoming. There is a lot still to be desired, though.”

Rios, and Velma Pena, the Westwood Square Neighborhood Association President, said they want more communication moving forward.

“This is a tight-knit community,” Pena said.

H-E-B said any customers who have concerns about their store or if they want to request a specific item be stocked on shelves can submit a note to the store management.

About the Authors

Avery Everett is a news reporter and multimedia journalist at KSAT 12 News. Avery is a Philadelphia native. If she’s not at the station, she’s either on a hiking or biking trail. A lover of charcuterie boards and chocolate chip cookies, Avery’s also looking forward to eating her way through San Antonio, one taco shop at a time!

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.

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