Over 100 years ago, in 1901, an enterprising woman named Florence Butt invested $60 and opened a small, family-owned store in a little town in Texas Hill Country. Today, that $60 has grown into H-E-B Grocery Stores — one of the largest privately-owned food retailers in the country with more than 340 stores in 150 communities, employing 76,000 employees. As the company’s overview states: “We’ve always dreamed big.”
In 2010, Progressive Grocer Magazine named H-E-B Retailer of the Year, based on, among other things, industry contribution, industry and community leadership, social responsibility and sustainability. This award recognizes H-E-B’s emphasis, since the 1930s, on commitment to the local communities surrounding their stores, with the company contributing five percent of pre-tax earnings to community and charitable programs. That community commitment also extends to environmental stewardship.
As part of their construction plans, H-E-B stores are now designed to save on energy consumption and reuse materials wherever possible, saving thousands of dollars each year in energy costs — savings that are in turn passed along to customers. In planning for their newest, most environmentally-innovative store — H-E-B at Mueller in Austin, Texas — Charles Wernette, Director of Engineering at H-E-B, states: “We decided to make this store at Mueller our most energy-efficient store to date. One of the energy-saving initiatives we undertook was to make every light in the store LED.” To make that goal a reality, H-E-B turned to the industry leader in the LED lighting: Cree.