IN THE EARLY NINETIES, H-E-B chairman Charles Butt was looking to do something different, something beyond the reach of a traditional grocery store. Butt selected John Campbell, who ran the H-E-B bakery operation in San Antonio, to help him research the possibilities. Campbell visited stores and markets around the world, and brought back a wealth of fresh, interesting ideas. Soon, Central Market was born, and the concept has flourished ever since.
What makes these markets so unique and appealing?
Central Market procurement personnel travel the globe on product-finding missions, bringing fresh and distinctive products to Texas.
Connoisseurs can peruse more than 2,500 labels of wine, both domestic and imported.
For the beer buff, Central Market stocks more than 350 kinds of beer, including imports and hard-to-find American microbrews.
Some shoppers melt over the more than 600 varieties of cheese, arranged alphabetically by country and type.
Who knew? There are more than 80 varieties of mustard to be found on Central Market shelves.
The bakery pounds out around 80 types of breads and pastries, including some specialty artisan breads, all made fresh daily.
Central Market keeps more than 60 recipes for handmade sausage, of which about 20 are prepared each day.
There are also around 20 varieties of freshly squeezed juice, with a mélange of flavors selected from what is in season.
Some shoppers have grown to love the selection of 700 varieties of produce, including 150 organic choices.
With 600 food items to choose from, bulk consumers can obtain the exact quantity desired when browsing the bins.
The seafood market is swimming with more than 80 varieties of fish, both saltwater and freshwater. To make sure it sells only the highest quality seafood, Central Market is one of two retailers in the nation (the only one in Texas) certified by the federal government to participate in the HACCP (Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points). Central Market volunteered for this program, which uses preventative techniques originally developed by the space program to ensure the safety of astronauts’ food.
To top it off, the floral department blooms with more than 100 varieties of fresh flowers from around