FRISCO, Texas — The first person started staking out at 6pm on Tuesday, a full 12 hours before the doors opened. And through the night, they were joined by more and more until the line stretched the entire length of the 111,000 square foot store.
Black Friday? Tickets to a big game?
No, a grocery store.
This was the H-E-B experience, and it finally arrived in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex early Wednesday morning.
Surrounding cities in North Texas have long had an H-E-B, the popular South Texas-based grocery chain, but none of our region's four largest counties have had a location.
Not until 6 a.m. Wednesday.
When the doors of the sparkling new Frisco location finally opened at that hour, the first shoppers were greeted with confetti and a marching band. By 7 a.m., the store was crammed full of shoppers, not only taking advantage of the free samples and giveaways but to finally see what all the hype was about.
One H-E-B manager said he has helped open 200 stores but he had never seen a grand opening line like the one Wednesday morning.
Jennifer Burnison was the store's first official customer. She and her friend started waiting outside the store around 6 p.m. Tuesday. Twelve hours later, the doors finally opened, and Burnison was greeted by confetti, a marching band and a gift basket.
"As soon as they announced the release date, I was talking with my daughter and we said, 'Alright, we're going to be there,'" Burnison said. "We were trying to figure out how early was too early. Black Frida,y we're used to 4 a.m., but we kind of had a feeling we had to get here even earlier for this."
The Frisco store, located at 4800 Main Street near the Dallas North Tollway, will be one of several H-E-B sites in Collin County.
The company has announced plans for stores in Allen (E. Exchange and N. Greenville), McKinney (Custer and Eldorado), Plano (Spring Creek and Preston) and Mansfield (US 287 and East Broad Street).
While H-E-B owns several Central Market stores in North Texas, the company waited decades to enter its flagship brand to the Metroplex, where the grocery market is dominated by Kroger, Walmart and Tom Thumb. Kroger has several locations in the near vicinity of the new H-E-B, and there are also grocery options at Tom Thumb, Sprouts and Target. H-E-B does own land near Bishop Arts.
While there are plans to open stores in other parts of the Metroplex, there are none in southern Dallas, where neighborhoods still have limited access to affordable, nutritious food.
“Opening our flagship H-E-B format in the DFW area has been an aspirational goal of ours for many years, and the company has a long-term commitment to serve a broad range of customers and communities across North Texas,” Stephen Butt, H-E-B board member, said in a statement.
City staff installed cameras to monitor flow for the first week and said they will adjust light times if need be.