Thursday, December 13, 2018

Eater Writer Says H-E-B is 'Cultiest Cult Grocer in America'

Posted By on Thu, Dec 13, 2018 at 1:44 PM

click to enlarge COURTESY OF H-E-B
  • Courtesy of H-E-B
There's plenty of regional grocery market chains that have a dedicated following: Wegmans, Giant Eagle, Publix, Aldi and, of course, H-E-B.

But one Eater writer is arguing that the Texas-based chain is the "cultiest cult grocer in America."

It goes without saying that Texans love H-E-B, especially native Texans who longer live in the Lone Star State. While all local and regional supermarket chains seem to have fans willing to claim their chain is the best, writer Priya Krishna writes that H-E-B's following is unlike any other.

The San Antonio-based chain only has locations in a single U.S. state, plus 52 stores in Mexico, which isn't the case for a lot of other popular chains. It's the 12th largest private company in the U.S. and consistently ranked one of the top places to work. But Krishna writes that H-E-B stands out as "one of the most powerful cultural forces in existence" for one reason.



Texas pride.

Krishna, who grew up in Dallas, said H-E-B is a "way of life."

"What's unique about H-E-B fandom is that its customers are ultimately loyal to H-E-B in so far as they are loyal to Texas," she writes.

And she's not wrong. H-E-B certainly taps into customers' love for all things Texas: Lone Star State-shaped skillets, party trays, burger shapers, cutting boards, pecan pie, cheese, tortilla chips and plenty more items. But the chain goes further, giving customers what they know we love, such as smoked meats via True True Barbecue, fresh tortillas via Mi Tienda stores and the recent Selena bags, to name a few.

Beyond that, Krishna writes that as quintessentially Texas H-E-B is, the store also redefines what it means to be Texan, most notably in Central Market stores.

"There are still sizable communities that H-E-B could do a better job of showcasing — the state’s robust immigrant populations from China and Vietnam come to mind — but it’s hard to think of another brand that’s as expansive in its vision of who and what gets to be Texan, or that comes as close to its aspirations to represent all of Texas," Krishna writes. "Whatever the future of Texas looks like, there’s a good chance it’ll show up in H-E-B."

An inclusive cult? We're here for it.

So many restaurants, so little time. Find out the latest San Antonio dining news with our Flavor Friday Newsletter.

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