H-E-B is celebrating its 110th anniversary this year, and the grocery store chain is doing better than ever. The store was featured in Forbes in 2014 for its off-the-charts business saavy, and has been a favorite vendor of native Texans for as long as they’ve been operating.
The tagline in their television and radio ads is catchy, but the H, the E, and the B are actually the initials of Howard Edward Butt Senior, the store’s founder.
Though H-E-B is currently headquartered in San Antonio, the first San Antonio store didn’t open until 1942. Florence Butt invested $60 in 1905 to open the CC Butt Grocery Store in Kerrville, Texas. When her son, Howard, took over, he expanded the chain to Del Rio and Laredo, putting the company on track to becoming the Texas giant it is today.
In the early 20th century tuberculosis was ravaging the United States. Known as the Great White Plague, a diagnosis of TB would cause a family to become social outcasts, since no one wanted to expose themselves to the illness. The company’s founder Howard Butt’s father, Charles Butt, was a Memphis pharmacist when Howard was born, but a bad case of tuberculosis prompted the family to move to the drier climate of the Texas hill country.
While Texas is currently the only state in the U.S. where you can find an H-E-B store, there are locations in Mexico too. The first international location opened in Monterrey, Mexico in 1997.
While you can shop online from most supermarket chains now via services like Instacart, H-E-B Grocery offers online shopping for 50,000 non-perishable items from their website.
If you ever dreamed of being an H-E-B chef, your dreams can now come true. The new culinary academy opened in San Antonio in 2014.
While you can’t do the whole super-couponer thing, you can still get some great deals if you pay attention. H-E-B is famous for their yellow coupons and meal deals, but they will also allow you to piggyback manufacturer coupons on top of free deal items. Note – this is not the same as stacking coupons (where you use two coupons for the same item).
Connect by H-E-B is a stainless steel line of cookware designed by their own cooking connection chefs. They also have Cocinaware, which is a colorful collection of cast iron cookware and hand-painted tableware.
Texans would absolutely lose their minds if the comapny is ever publicly traded, but given that it’s been a family owned company for over 100 years, that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. However, in November last year, the company announced that it would be granting stock to 55,000 H-E-B employees, and that employees could eventually own up to 15 percent of the company.
If you add all the Hill Country Fare, H-E-B Organics and Central Market brands available at H-E-B stores, it equals somewhere in the range of 1,000 different products. From fresh tortillas to ice cream and housewares, there’s plenty to choose from. Chances are you wouldn’t even need to venture toward the higher priced national brands to fill your shopping cart.