For H-E-B, 2018 was a year of growth and reinvention. With its eye on the future, the company continued to solidify its position as a market leader, introducing innovative technologies and strategies to benefit our customers and supporting the more than 300 communities we serve. As we settle into the new year, we want to revisit some of the top H-E-B Newsroom stories from 2018.
Last year, H-E-B announced several innovative efforts continued its path as a dominant force in the digital retail space. Big news came in February, when H-E-B officially started its partnership with Favor, the Austin-based on-demand delivery company. Since then, Favor’s CEO and President, Jag Bath, was named H-E-B’s Chief Digital Officer; the company rolled out beer and wine delivery throughout Texas; and Favor was named a top workplace in Austin by the Austin American-Statesman.
To lead the company’s digital-product strategy, design and development, H-E-B named Mike Georgoff as Chief Product Officer of H-E-B Digital. With a solid leadership team in place, the H-E-B Digital team looked to further expand its technology and digital presence in San Antonio, Austin and throughout the company. To aid in its efforts in Austin, the company announced a lease for space on Austin’s east side, which is set to open in the spring. When it opens, the 81,000-square-foot space will be a creative and collaborative workspace for Austin-based Partners (employees) of the H-E-B Digital team. The space also will become Favor’s corporate headquarters.
In addition, H-E-B continued to enhance its digital offerings with the expansion of its H-E-B Delivery and H-E-B Curbside services, which grew to reach 165 stores in 2018.
A growing retailer
To support the company’s growing business, H-E-B announced plans to build a 1 million-square-foot warehouse as part of a multi-phase plan to develop 871 acres it purchased late last year on San Antonio’s East Side. Construction is underway on the property, which will give the company room to grow and the warehouse will provide additional space for dry goods and other grocery products. The facility is scheduled to be up and running in 2020.
For H-E-B, its key focus is to ensure we provide our customers the best shopping experience online and in store. New stores popped up across the state in areas including College Station, Bellaire, Spring, and Fort Bend County. Not only did we grow but we rebuilt. After being devastated by the floods after Hurricane Harvey, the H-E-B Kingwood Market reopened its doors.
Beyond stores, H-E-B continued to roll out South Flo Pizza locations, growing its footprint to 11 locations across Texas and expanding its tasty offerings. True Texas Tacos, H-E-B’s first taco joint opened in San Antonio, as well as the first KODI store.
H-E-B Helping Here
For H-E-B, to be the best retailer, our focus goes beyond our stores. Committed to the more than 300 communities we serve, H-E-B’s support touched countless people throughout the state.
Hitting a significant milestone since its launch in 1982, the H-E-B Food Bank Assistance Program last year surpassed more than 1 billion pounds of food donated to 5,500 nonprofit organizations in Texas and Mexico. As part of its hunger relief efforts, H-E-B raised more than $700,000, which provided roughly 3.1 million meals through the Help End Hunger Campaign. Additionally, throughout the year, H-E-B made significant donations to food banks across the state, including a summertime gift of 1.5 million apples and holiday donations of 1.2 million sweet potatoes and more than 450,000 pounds of turkey and ham. Last year also was the 30th celebration for the H-E-B Feast of Sharing dinners, which annually serves more than 250,000 meals during the holidays.
For H-E-B, no situation is too big or small to receive support. In the fall, the company and our Partners rushed to help impacted communities during the Austin water boil crisis. And in the summer, H-E-B donated pet food and made a monetary gift to a Bastrop animal shelter after several animals were displaced due to a water leak that caused severe damage to their facility.
Supporting education is a big part of H-E-B’s philanthropic mission and the company made several gifts across various efforts. H-E-B and the Charles Butt Foundation continued its support of the Centers for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) high schools in San Antonio by donating $2 million for the development of CAST Med High School in San Antonio. The latest investment brings the overall support of H-E-B and the Charles Butt Foundation to more than $8 million. A nature-based preschool in San Antonio, Will Smith Zoo School H-E-B made a $250,000 donation to its scholarship endowment. Celebrating 33 years supporting organizations that serve children, the H-E-B Tournament of Champions raised more than $9 million dollars in 2018. Overall, the annual event has raise more than $100 million since its founding. Called the Oscars for educators, the 17th Annual Excellence in Education Awards awarded more than $700,000 in winnings to teachers and school administrators throughout Texas. And through our military efforts, H-E-B and the H-E-B Tournament of Champions hit the milestone of gifting 25 homes to wounded military service members, a figure that will continue to grow in 2019.
Several stories garnered excitement from H-E-B fans. Who could forget the launch of not one but two limited-edition Selena bags commemorating the Queen of Cumbia. Hitting the airwaves were several commercials featuring sports icons from teams such as the San Antonio Spurs and the World Series-winning Houston Astros. In stores, we celebrated five years of our partnership with Whataburger, selling their line of condiments, which include their spicy and fancy ketchups.
In the spring, H-E-B was part of setting a Guinness World Record for the worlds longest ice cream sundae.
Our Partners even made the news. A story about Jake Pate, a Partner in Lake Jackson, went viral after he paid the grocery bill for a customer who didn’t have the money to cover the bill. A H-E-B Blooms Partner had the honor of creating a floral wreath that was laid at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. And Central Market Partner Norma Garza and her family took home the top prize at the State Fair of Texas for their Sweet Crispy Rice confection.
All in all, it was a good year for H-E-B and we can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store.