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HEB_East_Austin_tech_lab.png H-E-B

H-E-B opens doors to new tech hub

Innovation lab will house H-E-B Digital, Favor team members

As part of efforts to spur development of digital offerings, H-E-B has opened its new Eastside Tech Hub innovation center in East Austin, Texas.

The 81,000-square-foot, two-story facility, which went into operation yesterday, will house members of H-E-B’s digital team in the Austin area and serve as new headquarters for Favor, the on-demand food and grocery delivery company that H-E-B acquired in February 2018.

H-E-B said the Eastside Tech Hub, announced last September, initially will accommodate hundreds of Favor team members and H-E-B digital partners, with room for growth as both business units invest to drive digital innovation. The San Antonio-based grocer noted that H-E-B Digital, with locations in Austin and San Antonio, and Favor are now hiring across all areas of expertise, including product management, product design and software engineering.

“This Eastside Tech Hub will play an essential role in keeping both Favor and H-E-B as digital leaders,” said Jag Bath, H-E-B chief digital officer and Favor CEO.

Located at 2416 East Sixth St. in East Austin, the tech lab sports an open-office design that offers a variety of work settings, including open collaboration areas, individual workspaces and more than 50 meeting rooms equipped with advanced technology and videoconferencing. The office also has a coffee bar featuring coffee from local roasteries, a lounge area, a large events space and a wellness center with a rock-climbing wall, curated fitness classes, bike parking and showers.

H-E-B said that, during the work week, it will provide rides on Wi-Fi-enabled shuttle buses to facilitate collaboration between digital team members at the East Austin office and its San Antonio office. The new tech hub also is within walking distance of several restaurants, coffee shops, breweries and the 7th Street H-E-B store, which the retailer said is undergoing a major remodel to offer a “world-class shopping experience.”

To celebrate the heritage of H-E-B and Favor, the East Austin office also features meeting rooms named after H-E-B brand products, famous personal assistants from popular culture — a nod to Favor’s Runners — and Texas landmarks and cities, H-E-B said. Decorative accents reflect the company’s Texas base, including brick and tile sourced from D’Hanis Brick in San Antonio, handmade furniture from Marfa and plants native to the Lone Star State. The space, too, features the work from Texas-based makers and artists, including portraits and murals by Will Bryant, multimedia art by R.F. Alvarez and installations by Cody Barber.

H-E-B said it worked with IA Interior Architects to renovate and customize the East Austin facility, a former warehouse space.

“Having a shared space like this is crucial to both H-E-B Digital and Favor’s rapid growth,” Bath said. “The Eastside Tech Hub enables us to have a strong tech presence in both Austin and San Antonio, while fostering a better connection between our teams across the two cities.”

H-E-B operates approximately 400 stores overall, including about 340 stores in Texas and nearly 60 stores in Mexico.

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