HEB is a popular supermarket chain based in Texas with over 340 stores.
If you’ve ever been to a HEB store and are wondering what the letters H-E-B stand for there are actually two answers:
- HEB’s CEO was Howard Edward Butt who named the store after himself, hence HEB.
- The store’s slogan is “Here Everything’s Better”, so many presume that this is what HEB stands for.
Strictly speaking, HEB stands for Howard Edward Butt however as that name is not particularly memorable for most people the store’s slogan, “Here Everything’s Better”, has been adopted by many as the store’s name.
About Howard Edward Butt & HEB
Howard Edward Butt the third of three children, was born on April 9th 1895 in Memphis.
He spent the first 10 years of his life there until his family moved to Kerrville Texas because of his dad’s tuberculosis.
In Texas the family opened their first grocery store with a $60 investment, this was the start of HEB.
The store was actually founded by Howard’s mother Florence Thornton Butt, in the early years Howard spent a lot of time managing the store and delivering groceries, here he learned a lot about the retail business.
After serving in the navy during WW1, Howard came back to Texas to work full time with his mother.
Howard Butt, changed the business model of the store from credit and delivery to a cash and carry style business, he also started to increase the stores’ product ranges.
In the early 1920s he tried unsuccessfully to open 3 new stores which all failed.
In 1926 he opened a successful second store in Del Rio and then soon after that took out a $38,000 loan to finance the purchase of three more stores in the Rio Grande valley.
From here HEB expanded rapidly with a distribution center opening in Harlingen and numerous other stores opening across Texas.
In 1933 disaster hit when a huge hurricane destroyed the distribution center, in the aftermath of this a HEB community investment program was set up to contribute 5% of profits to nonprofit organizations in Texas.
In 1935, Howard Butt changed the name of the company to H.E. Butt Grocery. This was shortened to H-E-B in 1946.
The company continued to grow from strength to strength with Howard Edward Butt at its helm.
However in the 1960s Howard Butt stepped down as President and became a full-time preacher following the encouragement of Billy Graham.
Instead, he became Vice-Chairman of the store and vice president of the H.E.Butt Foundation.
Howard continued in the vice-chairman role until his death in 1991 at the age of 95.