JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — When Marble Falls H-E-B store manager David Crail took the stage April 7 at the official groundbreaking of a new store, he said he was relieved to finally be able to reveal his big secret.
“I had a lot of questions about us getting a new store,” he said with a chuckle to the assembly of city and county leaders, H-E-B corporate managers and partners, and honored guests. “I told people, ‘I have no idea.’”
Then, he shared an email he received from Jeff Thomas, H-E-B senior vice president and general manager for Central Texas Region. In a 2006 email to H-E-B president Charles Butt, Thomas wrote that the Marble Falls area was growing, and “We needed a store in Marble Falls,” Crail recalled reading.
And what a store Marble Falls is getting, H-E-B officials said.
The new H-E-B, which will be completed in spring 2018 near the current one, located at 1503 RR 1431 West, will be 111,000 square feet, an increase in size by 35,000 square feet.
“It’ll be state-of-the-art, the best innovated store H-E-B can build,” said Leslie Sweet, director of public relations for the grocery chain. “We made improvements and tweaks and designed a storefront unique to the Marble Falls area. We don’t have master templates.”
Thomas said shoppers will experience:
• curbside pickup, which allows customers to shop online and drive up to “pick up groceries;”
• a floral department that also delivers;
• a home decor department;
• a Texas Front Yard department that includes pottery, ceramics, plants, outdoor furniture, grills, and fire pits;
• a produce department offering more selection as well as fresh-squeezed juices and organic products;
• an in-store chef with a staff to provide meal solutions and Simple Meals, which are made and sold for immediate consumption — “All of that is next to the deli,” Thomas said;
• a beer and wine department with “so much more variety,” he added;
• an expanded grocery department, which will include a Central Market;
• a seafood department with fresh seafood and fresh sushi;
• a pharmacy with a drive-through;
• and a seasonal department that caters to the area.
Thomas said he told other H-E-B officials, “‘You have to take a look at this store. Let’s tailor it to this lake community.’ They’re making adjustments to it.”
H-E-B also presented $10,000 to celebrate having a store in Marble Falls for 50 years and in a tribute to founder Florence Butt, who moved her family to Kerrville from Tennessee in the early 1900s before the start of World War I. As she was saving money to open a grocery store and support her family, she wanted her three children to know that, while they didn’t have a lot, they always had enough to share, Sweet said.
So Sweet presented The Helping Center with gift cards totaling $5,000 and the Marble Falls Independent School District with $5,000 to fund its summer reading camp focused on helping students who have completed kindergarten.
Sweet said H-E-B officials can’t wait to see the finished store
“We’re excited to build a store from the ground up,” she said. “Parking may not be fun during the construction process, but the end result will be stunning.”