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It May Take Days For H-E-B To Fully Replenish Shelves Across Texas

A long line of people wait outside of a grocery store bundled up in warm clothing. There is some snow on the ground.
Bri Kirkham
Texas Public Radio
H-E-B customers line up outside the South Flores store in San Antonio to purchase bottled water, food and propane. Many Texans have been left in the dark and cold without running water as extreme winter weather continues in the state.

Texans continue to make do with the state’s poor infrastructure as weather conditions continue to be severe. Many residents’ pipes have frozen, many are without heat or electricity, and for many, the only option is to wait in line outside of H-E-B to re-up on basic necessities.

Dya Campos, H-E-B’s director of public and governmental affairs, said lines are long because the grocery chain is trying to keep their employees safe.

“If Partners are unable to safely reach the store, then you know, we've made the decision to go ahead and operate the store on very limited capacity. And that is the reason for the lines primarily,” Campos said. “We have some stores that typically operate with 250 to 300 partners that are operating with about 30 to 40.”

Some stores are running low and certain items. Campos said H-E-B plans to restock just what is necessary first.

The above video was taken Leon Springs H-E-B in San Antonio.

“Trucks will be rolling to replenish our stores. It'll take a few days for us to get back into the shape that we want to be, but we're going to prioritize the products that our customers need the most. We're going to prioritize putting products on the shelf that we know our customers need,” she said. “And so some unique products that customers may have enjoyed, they might not be there for a few days.”

H-E-B updates its list of product purchasing limits daily. The list is long, with the weather and with COVID-19, and includes things like propane tanks, water, bread and eggs.

Water is in demand in San Antonio at the moment, as many residents have lost water due to pressure issues or frozen pipes. Campos said it will take stores longer to get the bottled water aisle restocked.

“The largest water manufacturing companies were unable to manufacture bottled water for the past few days. And so it will take time for those items to come back into full stock on our shelves. But there's definitely light at the end of the tunnel. We just ask our customers to be patient with it,” Campos said.

A majority of H-E-B stores in the state are open and operating on limited hours. COVID-19 restrictions are still in place at the stores.

“There are families who absolutely need supplies, there are families with babies who need supplies for their babies. If you can wait a day or two, the condition of our stores will improve day after day, especially with warming, and then as we overcome some of the energy and water issues,” said Campos.

San Antonio is in better shape than the majority of other Texas cities, she added. There are nine stores in San Antonio that will remain closed due to power. In Austin, that number is 25, and in Houston, all stores are open, just with limited hours.

Campos said she projects the situation in stores will gradually get better in the coming days, though it will take a few days for the supply in stores to fully recover.

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Kathleen Creedon can be reached at kathleen@tpr.org or on Twitter at @Kath_Creedon