COPPERAS COVE — After a year of construction and several more of planning, an anchor store in the Five Hills shopping center opened for business early Friday morning.
The newest H-E-B Plus store’s grand opening attracted residents from Copperas Cove, as well as Fort Hood and Killeen, and an array of city and store representatives.
“It took us 107 years to design a store this good,” Leslie Sweet, H-E-B director of public affairs, told the crowd.
Officials spoke at the opening about how every store the company builds is better than the last one completed.
Sweet also led the presentation of three $1,500 checks to the Copperas Cove Boys & Girls Club, Armed Services YMCA and Hill Country Community Action Meals on Wheels programs.
In a dual celebration, Sweet led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to Copperas Cove Mayor John Hull.
“Don’t let the other mayors in Texas know we gave you an H-E-B for your birthday,” Sweet told Hull.
This branch is the 12th H-E-B Plus store in the state, according to the company’s website. It is about three times larger than the old H-E-B in Copperas Cove and offers an expanded selection and more departments for residents to shop in, such as the Texas Backyard section and a cafe featuring Flaming Birds and ready-to-go meals, a news release stated.
“I love it,” said Ashley Palma, a Fort Hood resident who attended opening day to shop with her two daughters. “It’s a much larger selection of food and produce and more space. The location is a benefit, too.”
Many of the employees from the former Copperas Cove H-E-B will help staff the new store, along with more than 100 new hires.
Tim Smith, general manager at the new H-E-B, took time to recognize his store managers and present Ed Page, H-E-B director of store operations, with a flat-screen television purchased with employee-donated funds.
“Copperas Cove rocks!” Page said as he accepted the gift.