This Historical Marker is located right next to the HEB (of course) at 300 Main Street in Kerrville. HEB is a big deal around Texas. I can say, in San Antonio, HEBs are at almost every corner. HEB was not always HEB. In 1905 Florence Butt invested 60 dollars and opened up Mrs. C.C. Butt’s Staple and Fancy Grocery Store in Kerrville.
The store was located at the bottom half of this 2-story building and also housed the Butt family on second floor.
Then in 1920 her son Howard E. Butt takes over after returning from military service in World War I. As a boy, he had delivered groceries in a wagon. He opens two more grocery stores in 1926 and 1927, one in Laredo and another in Del Rio. He also changed the name to C.C. Butt Cash Grocery. By 1931 Howard E. Butt had almost 20 stores specializing in low-priced goods. In the mid-1930s, Butt again changed the name of his enterprise-this time to H.E. Butt Grocery Company.
In 1940, H‑E‑B opens its first air‑conditioned stores and begins stocking frozen foods. Exclusive brand names also appear, including Village Park and Park Manor. H‑E‑B opens three stores in San Antonio. Over the next two decades, the growing chain offered a consumer trading stamp program, launched in-store fish markets and butcher shops and expanded to 50 locations.
In 1971 Howard E. Butt gave control of the company to his son, Charles C. Butt, who quickly set in motion two big changes for the family business: In 1976, the company abandoned its policy of closing on Sundays and started selling beer and wine. In 1985, Charles also ushered the relocation of H-E-B’s headquarters to the renovated Army Arsenal base in downtown San Antonio.
This isn’t all the history of HEB but it is how it all began. It has now grown to over 300 stores and has over 100,000 employees. They also do so much for the community.
Historical Marker Reads:
Charles C. Butt, his wife, Florence (Thornton), and their children moved to San Antonio from Memphis, Tennessee, in 1904. The following year they moved to Kerrville, where Florence invested $60 to open the C. C. Butt Grocery Store on November 26, 1905. Located on Main Street, the store was on the first floor of the building and the family lived above. The youngest son, Howard E. Butt, started in the family business delivering groceries in a baby carriage, then a little red wagon, and later by horse and buggy. He managed the store while finishing school, graduating as valedictorian of Tivy High School in 1914. Taking over store operations after serving in World War I, Howard E. Butt’s vision for the company resulted in widespread growth. In 1921, he implemented a cash-and-carry system rather than the traditional credit and delivery method. Early attempts to add stores in the hill country failed, but the business successfully added locations in the Rio Grande Valley under the name H. E. Butt Grocery Company, moving headquarters to Harlingen and later Corpus Christi. In 1936, the company acquired the Harlingen canning company to provide “Texas-grown, Texas-packed goods.” In the 1930s and 1940s, H-E-B opened stores in the larger cities of Corpus Christi, Austin, and San Antonio. Howard E. Butt, Sr., had a personal credo, “he profits most who serves best,” and following his mother’s example, he and his wife, Mary Elizabeth (Holdsworth) Butt, involved themselves in philanthropic giving and charitable activities across the state of Texas. Headquartered in San Antonio since 1985, H-E-B is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States and the largest private employer in Texas.