H-E-B is The Shelby Report of the Southwest’s 2022 Innovator of the Year. The Texas-based independent retailer just recently moved into the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, opening in Frisco on Sept. 21 and Plano on Nov. 2.
As the retailer’s flagship banner, H-E-B stores join the network of six Central Market locations that have been serving shoppers in the DFW area for more than 20 years.
The plan to enter the DFW Metroplex has been years in the making, according to Roxanne Orsak, H-E-B Chief Operating Officer.
“We’re Texans serving Texans, and we have wanted to service the DFW market for nearly 25 years,” she said. “Growing up in the company, I remember talking about one day we’ll get to DFW.”
As a multi-format retailer, H-E-B serves many different types of customers “in a very unique way,” Orsak said. “We’re proud of our Central Market division that has served the DFW Metroplex for over 20 years.”
Central Market is a specialty gourmet retailer. Most locations have a full-service kitchen, offer cooking and wine classes in their culinary schools, and have catering services.
As H-E-B has grown and studied the market, additional opportunities for the H-E-B brand became clearer. “With the Frisco and Plano stores open, the company will continue to expand its other formats and maintain its push as a multi-format retailer in the DFW market,” Orsak said.
H-E-B has been a multi-format retailer for close to 30 years. In addition to H-E-B and Central Market stores, other formats include Mi Tienda and Joe V’s Smart Shop.
In Houston, Mi Tienda stores celebrate Latino food culture, Orsak said. The Joe V’s Smart Shop brand, which launched in Houston 12 years ago, is the company’s price format banner, “where we bring the absolute highest-quality fresh products at the absolute lowest price,” Orsak said.
She added that H-E-B is methodical about where it locates stores and the timing of new locations. Each store is tailored to the uniqueness of the nearby neighborhoods and surrounding community, Orsak said.
The company’s architects and designers are “world-class Partners (employees) who study the market and design stores relevant to the area.” The company also spends time visiting with customers, local business partners, and community leaders – all types of stakeholders – to gain a better understanding of how it can best serve customers.
“We want to bring Texas our absolute best,” Orsak said. H-E-B has an ongoing real estate plan for the Metroplex, with plans to grow beyond the Frisco and Plano locations.
Juan-Carlos Rück, H-E-B Executive VP of North West Food Drug, said H-E-B’s long-term plans are to continue to grow in the Metroplex with not just the H-E-B flagship brand but with its other formats as well.
H-E-B stores are under construction in Allen and McKinney, while ground was broken just recently in Alliance, which will be the first H-E-B store in Tarrant County (Fort Worth). An H-E-B location in Mansfield has also been announced, with groundbreaking planned for early next year.
Rück said the new locations will give residents an opportunity to join the H-E-B team and become Partners, “which is pretty exciting.”
The San Antonio-based company entered the Houston market about 30 years ago and has opened several stores there. It took “a lot of time to study Houston, and we wanted to make sure we got it right,” Orsak said. “We feel really good about our operations in Houston.”
With H-E-B’s plans underway for its expansion in the DFW area, Orsak said H-E-B wants to make sure it has the Partners needed for the new locations.
“Our partners are the key to our success. Before we enter or expand in any market, we make sure we have the best training and development for our Partners – and identify strong leaders to take great care of our customers and community,” she said.
To view the full Innovator of the Year section on H-E-B by The Shelby Report, click here.