COPPERAS COVE — Representatives from H-E-B held a community reception Friday to bring residents and city leaders up to date on plans for the new H-E-B Plus!, scheduled to open in February.
Early numbers estimate the new store will employ 270 people to staff seven new departments and 10 expanded departments. The current H-E-B store in Copperas Cove employs 170.
“This is a big deal,” said Ed Page, director of store operations. “The current store is 44,000 square feet, and we have a 119,000-square-foot one going to open up.”
New departments include entertainment, baby and toddler, do-it-yourself, kitchen and dining, toys, Texas backyard and a tortilleria.
Departments in the current Copperas Cove store — bakery, beauty, pharmacy, beer and wine, pets — will be bigger in the H-E-B Plus!.
Page said the new store would be similar to the one that opened in Belton last year, but “greater.”
“We never build anything the same way twice,” he said. “You guys are on fire down here. H-E-B wants to grow with you.”
Page and H-E-B Director of Public Affairs Leslie Sweet explained that they study what features do well in new stores and which need improvement and adjust as necessary when they build a new branch.
The two also announced that Tim Smith, the store manager of the existing Copperas Cove H-E-B, will be the general manager of the Cove H-E-B Plus!
“When we open a replacement store, usually we choose a new person to run it,” said Page. “But Tim has done a great job.”
Officials said the fate of the current H-E-B building is unknown.
Sweet did mention that H-E-B will pilot a “bagless” program when new city ordinances kick in at Austin stores next year, but said they would seek resident input before making anything official.