H-E-B Drops First-Ever Merch Line That Has Shoppers Going Nuts

Commemorating the Texas supermarket chain's 117th anniversary.

Photo Courtesy of H-E-B

Earlier this month, H-E-B surprised its loyal shoppers with the launch of a brand new merchandise line in commemoration of its 117th anniversary.

The launch of H-E-B Brand Shop now allows customers to get their hands on all kinds of H-E-B themed swag, ranging from T-shirts and socks to baby clothes, hats, coffee mugs, shoes, and stickers.

With more than 420 stores and over 145,000 employees, H-E-B’s rich history dates back to 1905 in the small Hill Country city of Kerrville, Texas. With a $60 loan, Florence Thornton established Mrs. C.C. Butt’s Staple and Fancy Grocery, a one-room grocery store on the ground floor of her family home. In 1919, she handed the keys of the business over to her youngest son, Howard E. Butt, who had delivered groceries from the store by wagon as a boy.

The H-E-B we know today is the result of the many innovations Butt implemented when he took over, beginning with his introduction of major low-cost distribution that eliminated middlemen and maximized profits. In 1922, he replaced the store’s credit-and-delivery system with a policy of self-service cash-and-carry, increasing the turnover of goods and bringing a new era of shopping into the city.

Despite several attempts to expand the grocery into Central Texas, Butt brought the business into Del Rio in 1926, and purchased three additional stores in the lower Rio Grande valley. Due to the grocery’s specialization in low-priced goods, the company survived the Great Depression and eventually added 20 new stores as it expanded into Southwest Texas. By 1931, Butt had built a $2 million business, which included a buying department and construction division.

In the mid-1930’s, Butt changed the name of the grocery chain to H.E. Butt Grocery Company as he moved into manufacturing by acquiring the Harlingen Canning Company. In 1942, Butt installed air-conditioning in stores and introduced frozen foods, moving the company’s headquarters from the Valley to Corpus Christi.

In the same year, he opened the first store under the name H-E-B, in San Antonio. Today, H-E-B has become one of the nation’s largest independently owned food retailers, with an annual sales of $34 billion.

Deep in the heart of H-E-B is its devoted commitment ot public service in the communities it serves, where each year, the company donates five percent of pre-tax annual earnings to charitable organizations that focus on hunger relief, education, health, environmental sustainability, and diversity initiatives.

It should come as no surprise that H-E-B chose to debut its Brand Shop in Kerrville, right off Main Street. Starting in early 2023, H-E-B says it will begin rolling out its Brand Shop in every region where the supermarket operates.

“At H-E-B, we’re always looking for ways to offer our loyal customers exclusive, quality products, and with H-E-B Brand Shop we’re excited to give our superfans opportunities to celebrate and showoff their passion for all things H-E-B,” said Sabina Israelian-Garcia, H-E-B Group Vice President of General Merchandise, Drug Store and Beauty.