DRC connects the dots to bring Tom Thumb store to Southern Dallas County

Tom Thumb is a chain of supermarkets in the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex. (Credit: Trong Nguyen)

On Wednesday, April 12, the Dallas City Council voted to approve an incentive package for a Tom Thumb grocery store to be built in Southern Dallas County (SDC) at The Shops at RedBird, a move that promises to increase access to high-quality groceries for families in an area chronically affected by food deserts.

The good news—which was met with celebrations and praise from SDC residents—came with a sense of triumph for the Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC), whose staff and members spent more than a year working with developers and civic leaders to bring the project to fruition.

In 2021, the DRC’s Community Investment in Under-Championed Areas Sub-Council set its sights on bringing a national grocery chain to SDC, knowing it would not only address barriers to nutritious food but also catalyze economic growth and opportunity.

“The DRC believes in Southern Dallas County—its economic potential, its human capital, and its purchasing power,” said Latosha Herron Bruff, DRC Senior Vice President of Inclusion and Community Engagement.

Latosha Herron Bruff leads a Vision Tour of Southern Dallas County in 2022.

At the time, the sub-council was chaired by Steven Williams, CEO of PepsiCo Foods North America and current DRC Board member. As the sub-council’s discussions developed, Williams called upon his friend Vivek Sankaran, CEO of Albertsons Companies, the parent company of Tom Thumb stores.

Soon thereafter, representatives from the DRC were meeting with Albertsons Companies leadership and making the case for investing in SDC by establishing a top-tier grocery store such as Tom Thumb in the community.

“As we know through our Southern Dallas Thrives program, this area of the city represents a population full of potential, and it’s our obligation as business leaders to help them reach it,” Williams said. “This Tom Thumb project is a great example of collaboration between public companies, private organizations, and government to be a force for good. We hope this is a catalyst for others to follow.”

The DRC turned to member company Boston Consulting Group to conduct a fact-finding mission on the 88 separate food deserts in SDC to help identify the best location for investment. Albertsons Companies zeroed in on RedBird, a mixed-used development in SDC owned by a DRC Board member.

“We could not be more excited to welcome Tom Thumb to RedBird,” said Peter Brodsky, Majority Owner and Co-Developer of The Shops at RedBird. “From day one, the community has expressed the desire for a high-quality grocery store with plentiful fresh food options, and we are thrilled to be delivering just that at RedBird. I especially appreciate Albertsons Companies for recognizing that there is a market in southern Dallas for their full-service and high-quality Tom Thumb store and the City of Dallas for helping to make this a reality. Finally, thank you to the Dallas Regional Chamber, which was instrumental in bringing all parties to the table and for consistently making the case for investment in southern Dallas.”

Peter Brodsky at Red Bird Mall

Brodsky and RedBird had been courting Albertsons Companies—and many other grocers—for years, and he credits the DRC’s work to bring strategic partners to the table as a key catalyst for the deal. Per a signed letter of intent between the two companies, RedBird will construct, and subsequently lease, a 50,000-square-foot building to house a Tom Thumb grocery store at The Shops at RedBird. The incentive package authorized by the Dallas City Council will offset some of the cost of finishing out the full-service store.

“Tom Thumb at RedBird is a catalyst for Southern Dallas County, and the DRC is proud to have played a role in catalyzing this project from idea to reality,” Herron Bruff said. “We believe this project will continue the virtuous cycle of investment and renewal in this critical part of the Dallas Region.”

“Our new Tom Thumb store at RedBird will bring meaningful jobs to southern Dallas, as well as provide convenient access to fresh food and pharmacy services,” said Wes Jackson, Albertsons Companies Southern Division President. “Tom Thumb has been proudly serving the DFW area since 1948 and we know how grocery stores greatly contribute to the health of the local economy. We are honored to be making this investment at RedBird and are grateful for the overwhelming support of Tom Thumb as we embark on building a new store in this community.”

Albertsons Companies expects to break ground on the Tom Thumb store in 2024, with an anticipated opening in 2025. Herron Bruff said she hopes this development inspires more businesses to put down roots in SDC.

“We’re hoping this is the first of many grocery stores and services,” Herron Bruff said. “We don’t want this to be a one and done.”

To learn more about opportunities and economic development in SDC, visit southerndallascounty.com.