Coveted corporations: H-E-B

heb.com

First store: Kerrville, Texas in 1905

Company home:  San Antonio, Texas

Total stores: 329 in Texas and Mexico

Closest store: Waxahachie, Texas, 31 miles

What’s the big deal?: Customers love H-E-B’s high-quality products, especially produce, for low prices — no customer card needed. And unlike sister store Central Market, H-E-B carries staples like Cheerios, paper plates and 12-packs of soda pop. The company is in expansion mode, but doesn’t have plans to expand beyond Texas, according to an Austin American Statesman article quoting company president and COO Craig Boyan. In the same January 2010 article, Boyan said that the company’s move into Burleson was not indicative of expansion into Dallas: “It really is to serve Central Texas better. If you were going to go into Dallas, you’d put a warehouse in Dallas.”

From the horse’s mouth: “Our Central Market stores are the stores that serve the Dallas area. We have our distribution network that is largely centered in South and Central Texas as well as in the Houston area, and several stores around Waco and Cleburne. Most recently we opened our northernmost store in Burleson, which was a natural progression of growth for us — 15 miles away from one of our existing stores in Cleburne that has a lot of traffic, and we need to relieve that store, and Burleson is a burgeoning community with lots of young families. We’re very proud of Central Market stores in Dallas-Fort Worth area. They’re serving customers well, and it’s working very well for us. We’ll continue to use that format.”
—Leslie Sweet, HEB director of public affairs

Expert opinion:
“Anybody that knows H-E-B loves them and wishes they were here. They’re what Tom Thumb was to Dallas 20 years ago. They’re a family business, and they’ll adapt a store to the area around it. … H-E-B has pretty strong coverage throughout the state. You think, OK, Dallas has to happen. On the other hand, they’re thinking let’s be cautious. I think they’re always thinking what’s the trigger that will cause them to address Dallas.”
—Mike Geisler

“The move to DFW market is inevitable. It’s just a matter of timing for those guys.”
—David Shelton


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