From Schwarzenegger to Vice, San Antonio's H-E-B Is Winning Praise for its Coronavirus Readiness


An H-E-B worker moves cleaning supplies. - TWITTER / @HEB
  • Twitter / @HEB
  • An H-E-B worker moves cleaning supplies.
San Antonio-based grocery chain H-E-B is racking up effusive praise for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. And not just from loyal local shoppers.

In the past week, both Texas Monthly and hipster news outlet Vice have penned glowing profiles of the company, and one-time California Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger took to social media to extol its disaster preparedness.

The lengthy Texas Monthly piece kicked things off, pointing out in interviews with H-E-B execs and workers that the company started planning for the crisis back in January, when the Trump White House still had its head buried in the sand (or deep somewhere else, if you catch our drift).

According to the article, H-E-B reached out to overseas retailers and suppliers to learn how shoppers were reacting. It also began prepping for the social distancing and sanitizing practices that would become necessary once the virus reached Texas communities.

On Twitter, Schwarzenegger praised HEB’s response as “a masterclass in preparation and being ready to support your community.”

The usually-not-so-business-friendly Vice even suggested that anyone from Whole Foods Market to the feds could learn something from the homegrown grocer's foresight.

"Within a month of the virus reaching Texas, H-E-B had done more to protect shoppers and employees and replenish empty shelves than any store in New York City, the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus pandemic," Vice's Hannah Smothers wrote.

Beyond its early planning, the company has drawn recent praise for its substantial donations to Texas food banks and a temporary $2-per-hour raise it gave hourly workers for staying on the job through the crisis.

In case you needed confirmation there's more to H-E-B than Texas-shaped tortilla chips and city-specific coffee blends, well, there you go.

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