One Hundred Years Old and Still Going Strong
Lisbeth Echeandia
Direct Line: (903) 965-9300
I hope you’ve taken the time to read Confectioner’s profile on H-E-B — our Retailer of the Year.
Unless you live in Texas or have made a point of visiting this retailer — you likely won’t be familiar with this extraordinary grocery chain. The largest private employer in Texas, with more than 56,000 partners, the privately held H.E. Butt Grocery Company had estimated sales of more than $11 billion in 2003.
I’ve admired the way H-E-B does business for many years. I live in North Texas, and although there’s no H-E-B store in my neighborhood, I only have to drive just under an hour to shop at Central Market — a “foodie’s” paradise. H-E-B currently has seven Central Markets in operation, and they’re not supermarkets — they’re food stores. Visit one when you can. There really is nothing quite like it. Many consider these remarkable stores the “future” of grocery retailing.
The company continues to innovate, and there will be new H-E-B Plus superstores opening in South Texas soon. While many retailers quake at the sight of Wal-Mart, H-E-B is challenged and motivated by the competition — and they are more than holding their own, thank you.
H-E-B Celebrates 100 Years of Serving Texas
Factoid: The company’s headquarters moved from Corpus Christi in 1985 to the historic Arsenal in San Antonio, where they remain today. The Arsenal was built in 1859 to furnish munitions to Texas frontier forts. It served as a supply depot in the Civil War, as well as during both World Wars. The headquarters is alongside the San Antonio River of River Walk fame.
A familiar name in Texas, H-E-B celebrates its 100th birthday this year with “one heck of a party” — all year long. Billed as “100 years of Innovation & Community Involvement,” the “actual” birthday falls on November 26, 2005.
The Limited Edition “birthday bear” (yes, I bought one), H-E-B’s Anniversary Cookbook, Limited Release wines, Limited Edition premium salsas and more, all help to bring the celebration to the customer. Part of the company’s operating promise is to “include customers in our fun and celebration.”
H-E-B partnered with Southwest Airlines and PR firm TateAustin earlier this year in the “Flight to Fight Hunger” which served as the kick-off for H-E-B’s Centennial Celebration. A total of 1.25 million pounds of food were delivered to Texas food banks in a 24 hour period — a world record food bank donation!
And H-E-B makes it clear that much of its success is due to its partners who serve their customers. To show their appreciation, parties were thrown at every work location in January of 2005. And throughout the year, every partner was treated to a series of special “Celebration 100” commemorative gifts plus the opportunity to win prizes through an internal company sweepstakes. And to personally say “thank you,” members of H-E-B’s Senior Leadership Team will visit every store in Texas and Mexico.
Congratulations, H-E-B — I look forward to presenting you with our prestigious award and celebrating the event with you.