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    HEB to Open Largest Store to Date Today

    The new Plus! Store in San Antonio will join four other new stores in its home base this year.

    HEB is opening a new Plus! Store in San Antonio today, with new departments, products and services tailored to the surrounding neighborhood, which is one of the fastest growing in the city.

    The $40 million, 178,500 square foot facility will be the grocer's largest store, a company representative told Progressive Grocer on Tuesday.

    The area surrounding the new store is not only high growth, but also high income. The average household income within a five-mile radius of the store is $102,925, according to a survey for The Weitzman Group, a commercial real estate brokerage. Population within five miles of the store is up by more than 46 percent in seven years, rising to 114,269 in 2007 from 78,125 in 2000.

    Offering food and general merchandise, the new store sells everything from towels to turnips. New store departments in the HEB Plus! at Highway 281 and Evans Road, include "Healthy Living", offering natural organic products; "Cooking Connection", with a chef to provide in-store demos and "Texas Backyard", with solutions for outdoor living and entertaining. The produce department features more than 900 different fruits and vegetables while the full-service pharmacy has a two-lane drive-thru. The store's Cafe on the Run is inspired by HEB's Central Market.

    "The store includes everything we've learned from the Plus stores and our core stores - in a deluxe version," H-E-B spokeswoman Dya Campos told the San Antonio Express-News. With the opening of the new HEB Plus!, the company will close its smaller store nearby.

    The mammoth store will go up against many competitors, including Wal-Mart. Like many other grocers, HEB has seen its market share dip a bit over the last few years as the giant retailer entered its market.

    "We've worked hard to see that this new H-E-B Plus! includes everything our customers said they wanted in a store, along with a few surprises to make their shopping experience with us, not only one-stop, but also unforgettable," Campos said.

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