H-E-B Grows and Grows

Mar 04, 2003

By George Anderson

When rankings of the best-run supermarket operators in the US are committed to a list, the name of H-E-B usually appears at or near the top. The same may soon apply in Mexico, according to a short profile on the company on Time magazine’s web site.

The chain now operates 20 stores in northern Mexico and it is discovering that some products are popular no matter which side of the border you’re doing business on.

According to Time, “What most sets H-E-B apart is its canny customization of stores. At the H-E-B in Houston’s Alief section, live tilapia and catfish swim in a tank in the seafood department, and fresh lemongrass and rambutan are stacked in the produce aisle — all favorites of Alief’s large Asian community. In San Antonio’s Deco-District there are fresh-baked pan dulce and nopalitos, an edible part of a cactus plant, for the area’s many Hispanic shoppers. And in Houston’s Westchase H-E-B, Indian shoppers can pick up aromatic ajwain and black mustard seeds.”

Moderator’s Comment: How has H-E-B succeeded at customizing
selection and services at store-level when so many others have not?

H-E-B understands that the key to grocery retailing is
moving product out of the store, not how you get it to the store. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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