HEB opens in Frisco with a crowd of 1,500 waiting

HEB knows how to make a grand entrance.

When the first of its namesake grocery stores opened Wednesday in Frisco, the scene was reminiscent of Black Friday’s past.

At least 1,500 people lined up waiting to enter the shop, which opened at 6:00 am. A deejay and drumming from Wakeland High School entertained the crowd for what many have been waiting for for years: walking into a HEB club.

People waited outside the HEB store before it opened at 6am in Frisco on Wednesday.(Lola Gomez / Personal Photographer)

The crowd was cheered up by employee greetings like tunes like Montell Jordan’s This is how we do It blisters. It took 24 minutes to finish the fast moving line. HEB employees handed out $ 25 gift cards and other freebies.

The day before the grand opening, Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney gave the famed retailer his compliments.

“We have The Star, Dallas Cowboys and PGA, but I’m not sure anything has had this level of excitement in this community,” Cheney said.

One of those enthusiastic about the store opening was Dante Tapia, Prosper’s eighth grade student, who dragged his mother, Claudia Tapia, out to queue for several hours. He wanted HE-B’s frozen chicken wings and avocados, which the young foodie said “haven’t been good around here lately”.

The Reedy High School athletic training team arrived at 5am to buy donuts to take to soccer practice, saying, “Heck, yeah, we’re going to eat the donuts in front of them,” the players in training.

The crowd gathered was made up of both longtime loyalists and curious shoppers. Some have become friends by queuing up and sometimes have found they have a lot in common besides HEB.

Kathryn Ovalle, 61, of The Colony, and Sela Garrett, 61, of Carrollton, discovered they both had daughters who attended medical school in San Antonio, where HEB is based.

“My daughter brings us hot sauce and all kinds of things. The tamales and the beef are great, ”said Ovalle, who shoots from Kroger but said he’ll drive six miles to this HEB store to shop from now on.

Garrett heard that HEB stores sometimes have rare live plants, but he was also there for his spices and canned goods, vegetables, salsa and chips. “I shop at Albertsons, but I will often make special trips to this store,” she said.

Everyone seemed to have a history of HEB, and while most of the people in line were from Frisco, several buyers said they were from Carrollton, The Colony, Little Elm, and Plano. There was talk of shoppers from as far away as Oklahoma and Arkansas arriving during the day.

The next HE-B store launch in North Texas is its location in Plano by the end of the fall. The stores in McKinney and Allen are under construction and are expected to open next summer. HEB said it will pave the way for a Mansfield store early next year.

Customers shop at the new HEB which opened Wednesday at 6am in Frisco.
Customers shop at the new HEB which opened Wednesday at 6am in Frisco.(Lola Gomez / Personal Photographer)

Stephen Butt, one of the company’s top executives and president of the Dallas-based HE-B Central Market, said research showed Dallas-Fort Worth is not as familiar with HEB as other parts of Texas. HEB has 420 stores in Texas and Mexico and a workforce of 145,000.

About a third of the population, the retailer estimates, had never heard of HEB and probably moved here from another state. Another third is familiar with visiting family or college students.

Then there are the loyalists who have been shopping at the chain for several years and have lost it.

It would be Zach Kohn, 27, or Rowlett, who was waiting in line with his red HEB reusable shopping bags. He was collecting breakfast for his colleagues.

“Get me through college with (his) prepared meals. It was that easy. I just had to warm them up, “he said, adding that he will drive to Frisco together to shop at his local Tom Thumb until a HEB opens near him.” My wife works across the street from HEB’s property in Rockwall. “

The real diehards were Jennifer Burnison, 46, of Little Elm, and Julie Hoffman, 56, of Celina, who were first in line and arrived Tuesday at 6pm.

“My brothers all live in South Texas, so I know HEB,” Burnison said.

Hoffman added: “We’re just excited.”

Twitter: @Maria Halkias

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