2011 Power 50: No. 11 Charles C. Butt

2011 Power 50: No. 11 Charles C. Butt

Under the guidance of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Charles C. Butt, H.E. Butt Grocery [3] and H-E-B Central Market persist as leading Texas chains, with more than 300 stores in Texas and Mexico.

This year, H-E-B showed its commitment to healthful living by promoting several health and wellness initiatives. The retailer provides tips and nutrition information on its website, and last January gave its customers a fitness incentive in the promotion, “31 Days to a Healthier Family,” where shoppers noted down activities for the month and mailed in the calendar for a chance to win a PlayStation Move Bundle.

Starting last spring, shoppers can attend the Weigh Forward weight-loss program offered in the independent RediClinics located inside 29 H-E-B stores. The program is 10 weeks long and medically supervised.

For a larger perspective, H-E-B offered a comprehensive view of childhood obesity with its Austin summit last May. The summit featured a panel of childhood obesity experts and was held at the same time as H-E-B's annual education awards, where H-E-B presents teachers and schools with cash prizes. A $10,000 award was given to 10 schools that showed leadership in encouraging health and wellness.

“In hosting the summit with the activities surrounding our awards celebration, we saw an opportunity to infuse these educators with the knowledge needed to bring about real change in their schools and in their communities,” Kate Rogers, vice president of communication for H-E-B, said in a release. “Our hope is that by placing a strong emphasis on the health of students, parents and staff in our public schools, we will see the rising rates of childhood obesity reversed in Texas.”

Butt further demonstrated his interest in education with a letter he wrote to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, published on The Houston Chronicle's website. The letter argues against cutting school funding in Texas. “For Texas to cut $4 billion from public school funding now, when a better-educated Texas can be a bulwark against future recessions, seems unwise, not conservative and, in fact, very risky for the state,” Butt wrote. “Falling back isn't the way Eisenhower and Patton won World War II.”

On the operational side, H-E-B opened the Temple Retail Support Center last September. The 450,000-square-foot warehouse in Temple, Texas, gave more support to Central Texas stores and distributers.

Throughout the year, H-E-B continued to push forward value-driven private-label products such as a new hand soap and cane sugar soda. H-E-B also expanded its PL sports drink line.

The future will bring an even larger network of H-E-B stores. Joe V's Smart Shops, H-E-B's discount, limited selection banner that debuted last year, will be expanding, according to local media reports. Two new Joe V's locations are planned for Houston, bringing the total banner count to four, the Houston real estate blog Swamplot reported. Joe V's Smart Shop Facebook page noted that a new store is currently hiring and looking at an Aug. 31 opening date.