New NE Side H-E-B Meeting the Challenge from Changing Retail

The new 117,000 square foot H-E-B store that opens today just inside Loop 1604 at Bulverde Road on the city's far northeast side is seen as a demonstration of how the giant retailer, which is the largest employer in Texas, is adjusting to changes in grocery marketing, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

In the era of Amazon delivery and companies like Blue Apron specializing in ready to cook meals, H-E-B Vice President Bill Anderson says the San Antonio company is more than prepared to meet the challenge.

The new H-E-B has a number of enhanced features to meet the competition, like the 'Meal Simple' department.

"Where our customers can come in and shop meat, produce, or the seafood and deli departments, and find products they can literally take home and just heat and eat," he said.

On top of that, the new store will expand H-E-B Curbside, the company's successful on line grocery ordering program

"Place their orders on line, either at home or on their mobile devices on an App, and then literally come at a specific time and pick them up, have H-E-B partners deliver them to their car."

The new store has a couple of new offerings as well.  It unveils the new Optical by H-E-B, a full service eye-care center, and expands 'True Texas BBQ, a complete barbecue restaurant complete with a drive through and a breakfast menu.

But Anderson says despite all the on line conveniences, many customers still prefer to come into a grocery store, largely to check out the variety, and the new products that are available.

"With the dawn of things like the Food Network, people are now more creative about food preparation," he said.  "They watch chefs prepare things and get inspired, and they have a lot of questions when they come into the stores."

He says the new store is fully prepared to take its place for decades as a key part of people's lives.  He says thirty or forty years from now, despite the digital revolution, traditional supermarkets will still be an important part of business and commerce.

"They'll be a lot different," he predicted, "But they'll still be here."

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