Pride of Texas

HEB Grocery Co. (H-E-B) prides itself on serving the Texas community as only a true Texan can. Based in San Antonio, the independently owned retailer takes its curious name from Harold E. Butt, son of founder Florence Butt, and has strong roots within the communities it touches, from Texas to northern Mexico.

H-E-B operates under the guidance of four strategic pillars that tell you a lot about the values it has carried forward over the years: service, quality and value for its customers; fostering an employer-of-choice culture; stable long-term sales and profits; and building authentic bonds with local communities.

Stores operate under five different formats, each tailored to the demographic makeup of the area it serves. The umbrella banner H-E-B is complemented by Central Market stores, which tend to focus on organic and international foods, and H-E-B Plus!, which looks more like a mass retailer than a grocery store and stocks electronics, toys, housewares and apparel. Mi Tienda, a retailer of Hispanic foods, and no frills discounter Joe V's Smart shop round out the bunch.

H-E-B has long embraced an everyday low price strategy geared toward making healthy foods more readily accessible. "We recognize that times are still tough for many of our customers," says Craig Boyan, H-E-B president.

Another strategy designed to help stretch their shoppers' food dollar is the retailer's extensive line of own brands. Products range from food like soups, cereals and juice to personal care products like shampoos, hand soaps and household cleaners. Food products are identified by a series of icons designed to communicate the health and wellness benefits of the product inside.

A diverse private label line is nothing new for many grocery retailers. But what is different about H-E-B is the way it aggressively supports its own brands via merchandising and marketing. Last year, that investment included a regional Super Bowl spot around the exclusive products that culminated in the tagline: "H-E-B brand products. Everybody wants them. Only Texas has them."