Captain Obvious: “Wow—the grand opening of the new H-E-B in Marble Falls is a pretty big deal.”
Admittedly, I knew there would be some buzz surrounding the opening of the new H-E-B, but I was not prepared for more than 2,000 reactions, comments, and shares in the first week of our Facebook video post highlighting last week’s festivities. Everybody knows that H-E-B is a great company with a loyal following, but I thought I would attempt to provide some specific insights on why this is such a big deal.
Before I do, however, I would like to congratulate VALERIE HIBLER for winning the drawing for $100 in H-E-B gift cards, courtesy of the Marble Falls EDC and Squeaky Wheel Marketing.
And, now, my top ten list:
- H-E-B is a Texas-based company with Hill Country roots. When it comes to community development, the more local, the better. It just happens to be a huge bonus that H-E-B is the largest private employer in Texas.
- H-E-B has great people. From top to bottom, every H-E-B employee I’ve ever dealt with has been a consummate professional. David Crail, in particular, has been a pillar of the community and a valuable mentor to me. At last week’s ceremony, he drew the loudest applause of anyone or anything—so I know others feel the same way I do. When he announced his retirement last year, it marked the end of one era and the beginning of another. I know Rudy Gill and his team will do a great job in the coming years.
- H-E-B supports the community. As evidenced by the gifts to the Marble Falls Education Foundation, the Helping Center, and others, H-E-B supports the communities that support their stores. They truly are a great partner.
- H-E-B’s investment in Marble Falls is a beacon that signals the strength of our economy. During almost every conversation I’ve had over the last year with prospective business owners, I’ve had to answer the question about when the new H-E-B was going to open. Just as Chick-fil-A represents the strength of the food sector, Baylor Scott & White the healthcare sector, and the hotel and conference center the hospitality sector, H-E-B’s expansion illustrates that they believe in the growth of the Highland Lakes area and that they want to be a part of enhancing the quality of life for our residents and visitors. And the fact that they did this without any monetary incentives from the EDC or City is icing on the cake.
- The H-E-B development project is triggering the revitalization of FM 1431 West. When H-E-B committed to expanding their presence in Marble Falls, they considered a few sites that would have taken them off of 1431. Losing H-E-B as an anchor in that area would have been problematic if not devastating for the surrounding businesses. Instead, all the players involved got creative and figured out a way to make the site work. Once demolition of the old store and the new parking lot are completed, that area will be a shining example of the right kind of redevelopment.
- The opening of the new H-E-B store should stop much of our sales leakage to other communities. Especially lately, as the shelves of the old store got emptier and the parking lot got tighter, Highland Lakes residents started doing their grocery shopping in communities to our east. Since they made the trip anyway, they probably stopped and ate somewhere and maybe did some other shopping while they were at it. The new H-E-B—especially when the parking lot is complete—should give people everything they want from a grocery store and more, thereby keeping more dollars circulating through Marble Falls instead of other communities.
- H-E-B’s employment spectrum matches that of the community. Like the school district and the hospital, H-E-B provides jobs at a variety of wage and skill levels. These are the top three employers in Marble Falls, accounting for more than 1,500 jobs for professionals with advanced degrees and experience to part-time student workers and retirees.
- H-E-B innovates. From the curbside pickup to the lake gear to the kombucha* station, H-E-B leads the way with fresh, new ideas and products that are appropriate to the communities they serve.
- The new H-E-B has ignited a spark in the community. Outside of a few nice days here and there, the weather around here hasn’t been great lately, and it seems to have led to some moodiness and doldrums that we’re not used to seeing. That is, until the new H-E-B opened. Suddenly, everyone is positive and upbeat—even the negative nellies and CAVE people (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) don’t have anything to complain about.
- Aisle #1 is beer, and Aisle #2 is wine. This seems to be the appropriate priority in the correct order, with a very visible Save the World Brewing Company “Go Local” endcap to boot!
* Kombucha (also tea mushroom, Manchurian mushroom, formal name: Medusomyces gisevii) is a variety of fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drinks commonly intended as functional beverages for their supposed health benefits. (Source: Wikipedia)