Community leaders, HEB employees and members of the public crowded the front entrance of a busy and buzzing HEB Thursday morning for a ribbon-cutting celebration of New Braunfels’ first HEB Plus!
The store opens to the public this morning at 6 a.m.
The ribbon-cutting included remarks by New Braunfels Mayor Barron Casteel; Natalie Rougeux, board chair of the Greater New Braunfels Area Chamber of Commerce; Kelvin Boone, general manager of the store; and Suzanne Wade, HEB’s San Antonio Food and Drug Division president.
Attendees were then encouraged to wander around the store, taking in what New Braunfels’ third HEB has to offer. HEB employees were also on hand to serve a variety of different samples. Before the ceremony began, Zack Walther was playing acoustic tunes for the crowd — and HEB announced it was donating $1,000 to his nonprofit Lennon-Aid. HEB also announced it was donating $10,000 to the Edwards Aquifer Conservancy and $10,000 to the Comal Trails Alliance.
“At HEB, we view each store as an opportunity to give back to the communities we serve and thank our customers for their continued support,” Boone said. “Today’s donations demonstrate our ongoing commitment to our unique surrounding environment through sustainable practices employed companywide.”
“We’re moved and touched by the generous gift,” said Nancy Pappas, president of the Comal Trails Alliance.
During his remarks to the crowd, Casteel said the HEB Plus! project “could not have been done without the collaboration, the partnership and leadership” of the county and city — and the Texas Department of Transportation — in getting Farm-to-Market Road 306 expanded.
“This new HEB — 140 new jobs, $3.4 million which we will see in tax revenue in the next 10 years in the city of New Braunfels — is a great accomplishment,” he said before joking that for the people like him who don’t live in that area “we look forward to your shoppers coming here instead of our local HEB.”
Casteel also praised HEB for being involved in so many volunteer efforts — giving time and money — and for being quality members of the community.
Speaking to the crowd, Rougeux, the Chamber’s board chair, echoed many of those points — including that she hears from many of HEB’s employees about “what a great place it is to work, so not only bringing jobs but quality jobs.”
“This is such a wonderful celebration for our community and our partnerships,” she said.
New Braunfels’ third HEB is a 120,000-square-foot building that houses many of the things customers have come to expect from HEB, but there are quite a few new and expanded offerings at the HEB Plus!
There is an entertainment department with game systems, TVs, etc; a bakery featuring a tortilleria; Texas Backyard with outdoor living furniture, grills, etc.; a floral department with online ordering and delivery service; a huge selection of import and craft beers; and a produce section with fresh, made in-house juices and a greater assortment of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, to name a few things.
But what the store’s general manager, Boone, is most excited about are three things that aren’t available at the other two HEB stores in town:
• The largest selection of “Meal Simple” offerings as a way to provide dinner for the whole family with little preparation;
• A new River Gear department that caters to one of the things for which New Braunfels is known;
• And a curbside service where customers can create a shopping list online and pick up their order curbside.
“It was important to us to build a new store that can better serve the needs of the growing New Braunfels community,” HEB’s Wade said. “From filling out your shopping list online and picking it up curbside to shopping for your river gear needs and more — a convenient and robust shopping experience was key in developing the store’s design and features.”
The HEB Plus! in New Braunfels is one that both Wade and Boone said could be the most beautiful and well-designed store that the company has ever built — a feat considering it only took about six months to build.
Galyn and Duane Burnaman were at the ceremony and were already excited about the new store. The couple lives somewhere in between the Walnut HEB and the new HEB Plus!, so they said they will likely be shopping at both.
“I wanted to come see it because I knew it was a Plus!,” Duane said. “I’m excited about everything. I’m liking the arrangement, I’m liking the ease to get to everything — and expanded variety.”
“A very expanded variety,” Galyn added.
The New Braunfels HEB Plus! will be open to the public this morning at 6 a.m. Its operating hours are from 6 a.m. to midnight daily. There is also a gas station on site that has been open for about a week, and has 24-hour autopay pumps. For more information about the company, visit heb.com. HEB Plus! is located on Farm-to-market 306 at Interstate 35.