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“We want to be ready for the party,” said Rudy Garcia, assistant store director.
The new H-E-B, at the corner of Conway Avenue and Mile 3 Road, is scheduled to open at 6 a.m. today with a grand opening ceremony set for 9 a.m. Garcia promised there will be hot specials for customers eager to get shopping.
Its pharmacy will feature a home delivery system within 10 miles with orders of two prescriptions or more. Garcia said the system has been piloted at area H-E-Bs and been successful.
The 96,000-square-foot store is powered 20 percent with solar energy and 80 percent electricity. It features deeper shelves for more stock, something Garcia said will ensure there always is product available.
“We’re trying to make it as efficient as we can for our customers,” Garcia said. “It’s really expanded more; we have a lot of Latino brand, we have a lot of Latino product.
He pointed out what he dubbed “Tortilla World,” which will have refrigerated, packaged and freshly made tortillas daily as well as chicarrones, also made fresh daily. The store also will feature napolitos, salsas and guacamole made in the store and freshly squeezed juices.
The new H-E-B will have the largest variety of Mexican personal care products of any of its stores. The lines include shampoos, soaps and vitamins.
“This news store will give customers a customized shopping experience like never before,” said Linda Tovar, H-E-B public affairs manager.
The store will beef up its demonstrations on barbecues because in the border region, Garcia said, people like their barbecues. The carniceria, or meat market, is 36 feet long.
And the store features tumbled fajita, meat that’s literally been tumbled in a machine to stretch it and make it tender. It also has lamb heads, beef heads, pork heads and whole pigs.
“Our customers look for this to make tamales, and those end up so delicious,” Garcia said. “You don’t see this at large stores.”
While catering to the unique needs of the border, the Palmhurst store has had somewhat of an identity crisis. When lettering on the building originally was erected, it was all in Spanish with words like “Pollos asados,” “Mi Mercadito” and “Pharmacia”
But “Pharmacia” was soon changed to “Pharmacy.”
“We’re kind of stuck in between as far as ‘Mi Mercado,’ ‘Pharmacia’ and H-E-B,” Garcia said. “We still want them to know that it’s their ‘mi mercado,’ but we’re still H-E-B, so we still want them to have their pharmacy. I think we’re doing the right thing.”
When designing the store, employees focused on ease for customers, grouping infant formula by age rather than brand and diapers vice versa, by brand rather than age because research shows customers are more like to want to compare food prices but they’ll go for a specific brand when it comes to diapers.
“We’re trying to be a little more efficient. Time is valuable,” Garcia said.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.