The scene at the grand opening of the new H-E-B (8900 Highway 6 in Sienna Plantation in Missouri City) last night was more low key than the opening of the nearby Kroger this past weekend. There were a few red balloons tied to the wrists of kids, but no bands or football players signing autographs.
The store, though, was packed even though Manager David Solis, a 30-year-H-E-B employee, fretted that not enough people knew they were open. He introduced himself to customers throughout the store, taking suggestions and handing out free coupons to those who didn't have any. As usual in H-E-B stores, signs were frequently posted on the aisles comparing prices of select items to Kroger.
Central Market takes up a section of the stores and those counters were doing a fairly brisk business with their Chicken Diablo and other quick dinner pickups.
Cooks (should you call them that?) at the sushi counter were hustling out the product. The wine and beer section of the store is enormous with an impressive selection at decent grocery store prices.
But the standout part of the store had to be the fish section that is absolutely enormous and seemed to include every fish that swims on the Earth. A monkfish, head and all, attracted a lot of oohs, ahs and grimaces.
Equally impressive was the veritable platoon of H-E-B employees, marshaled for the night. They were everywhere offering help and directions in the immense store. H-E-B stores generally have quick checkout lines and this was no exception.
It'll be interesting to see who wins out in this battle of the new stores in suburbia or if there is room enough for all.