Thursday, 17 November 2011 by Matthew Girard
The proposed expansion of the H-E-B Belton grocery store came to fruition last week as the city and residents celebrated the grand opening of the new H-E-B Plus! Belton location last Friday morning.
After months of construction and years of planning, the new 117,000 square-foot building (located at 525 N. Main St.) officially opened for business at 5 a.m. last Friday and to help celebrate, H-E-B officials and city officals hosted a ribbon-cutting breakfast to mark the occasion.
"This was just another great day for the city of Belton," Mayor Jim Covington told the crowd in attendance. "This will make a difference in the lives of our citizens for years to come."
Along with breakfast, the celebration included a performance by the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor jazz combo, "Pushin' Presser," and kayak give aways.
General Manager Eric Tovar, who recently relocated to Belton, said he is excited to be a part of the new location and Belton.
"I am just thrilled to be a part of this," Tovar said. "This is just a fantastic opportunity and it's a great store."
The new store created 200 new jobs and the new store will employ 326 people.
The larger format, which is four-times bigger than the previous H-E-B building, allows H-E-B to offer its customers expanded offerings including the first "Café on your Way" in Central Texas, a fresh from-scratch bakery, a healthy living department and an extensive beer and wine selection.
"We have a lot of new product offerings and a lot of firsts for our company," Tovar said. "Belton really deserves this store."
The new H-E-B Plus! also includes an extensive entertainment department offering electronics, movies, gaming systems/games and accessories, music and mobile devices and service. At the front of the building, the Texas Front Yard department offers fresh plants and flowers, outdoor furniture and accessories. The store also features "Cooking Connection," which is a live and interactive cooking demonstration with Chef Ben of Sushiya.
During the celebration, H-E-B also presented the city of Belton with a $50,000 donation to the Nolan Creek Recreational Improvement Project along with honorary kayaks and oars for Covington and City Manager Sam Listi. The funds will go toward enhancing water recreational opportunities for kayaking and tubing along Nolan Creek, as well as provide enhanced flood protections.
Tovar said the H-E-B Plus! Belton will also remain active with the schools in the area.
"H-E-B has always been very involved in the community and it's one of our cornerstones to give back to the community," Tovar said. "We are very heavily involved in the schools and education here, and we are just really excited to have the opportunity to continue that relationship and grow it."