While the folks at H.E. Butt Grocery Co. in San Antonio love the enthusiasm they see for bringing more grocery stores to Dallas-Fort Worth, they want people to know that it may not happen as fast as they’d like.
Leslie Sweet, director of public affairs for the leading grocery chain in Austin and Central Texas, said predictions made by Stephen Coslik, chairman of Fort Worth’s Woodmont Co. real estate firm, at last week’s 25th annual Tarrant County Real Estate Forecast, are a bit far-fetched.
Coslik, discussing how grocery stores will lead retail expansion in coming years, said H-E-B has been buying a site a month in North Texas and within the next three to five years could have about two dozen stores here.
Sweet said the grocery retailer has been considering stores in DFW for about 15 years and that executives continue to study the market, but it’s unlikely to open that many stores as quickly as Coslik suggested.
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“Those numbers are not accurate,” Sweet said.
H-E-B has acquired land, but there is no timetable for construction, Sweet said. DFW is a highly competitive market, and it takes time to make a decision as huge as opening stores here, she said.
“We love the excitement,” Sweet said, adding, “We’re not there yet. It’s a significant amount of planning. It’s a big decision.”
In the past couple of years, H-E-B has bought land in a couple of spots in north Fort Worth and in Grand Prairie. The grocer has stores in Burleson, Cleburne, Waxahachie, Ennis, Stephenville, Corsicana and Granbury. It also operates Central Market stores in Fort Worth, Dallas and Southlake.
Best companies to work for
There are no Fort Worth companies on this year’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For in Fortune magazine, but there are several with local ties and employees.
Ranked No. 28 is the Container Store, the Coppell-based retailer of home-organizing goods, which capped off 2013 with a $225 million public stock offering in November. According to Fortune, 14 percent of the IPO shares were set aside for employees, who benefited greatly when the shares (ticker: TCS) doubled from $18 to $36.20 on the first day of trading. The stock closed Friday at $38.38.
The Container Store has three locations in Tarrant County — in Fort Worth, Arlington and Southlake.
Two top producers in the Barnett Shale also made the list. Chesapeake Energy, which has scaled back its Fort Worth-area employment significantly in recent years as it cut costs and shifted resources to other oil and gas fields, is ranked 51. Fortune lauds its Oklahoma City headquarters, which it says is designed to look like a college campus and has a large child-care center.
Devon Energy, long the top producer in the Barnett since acquiring the gas field’s pioneer, Mitchell Energy, is ranked 56. It opened Doc, a medical clinic, in its 50-story headquarters in Oklahoma City last year, Fortune says.
Others on the list include David Weekley Homes of Houston (13), Whole Foods Market of Austin (44), TD Industries of Dallas (82) and EOG Resources of Houston (97). — Steve Kaskovich