H-E-B in Plano has an official opening date. The store on the southwest corner of Preston Road and Spring Creek Parkway opens at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2.

The 118,000-square-foot Plano store, like the Frisco store, will have an H-E-B’s True Texas BBQ restaurant attached with a drive-through, a home decor and essentials department and a beauty section with makeup and hair care brands that are sold at salons and Sephora and Ulta.

That date may not be soon enough for employees at H-E-B’s Frisco store, which opened September 21. That store had 1,500 people waiting to get in at 6 a.m. on its opening day, and there are still lines to get in, particularly on weekends.

Many Plano residents say they’re waiting for their own store to open to do a really big shop at H-E-B.

“I think a lot of people are waiting until this one opens closer to them,” said Plano resident Claudia Kist, co-operator of an H-E-B Facebook group that now has more than 4,000 members. The transplanted New Yorker who has lived in Plano for 10 years said she now mostly shops at Central Market. She only lives a mile from the new Plano H-E-B store but expects to keep shopping at Central Market, too.

H-E-B Plano’s location has already had an impact on the retail landscape. Kohl’s built a new store right next to its existing West Plano store to face the H-E-B on Preston Road, and a Houston real estate investment trust purchased the Lakeside Market shopping center next to the H-E-B’s parking lot, anticipating extra traffic through the center.

While H-E-B has operated a few stores around the south and west perimeters of Dallas-Fort Worth for several years, from Waxahachie to Hudson Oaks, the Frisco and Plano stores kick off the Texas grocer’s major expansion plans into D-FW. H-E-B has owned the Plano corner since 2012, and it’s one of several parcels the San Antonio-based grocer has purchased over the past 20 years.

Like the Frisco store, the Plano H-E-B has several competitors located around it, including H-E-B’s Central Market store in Plano, which is five miles southeast of the new store.

The company chose Plano and Frisco for its first two stores because they’re in densely populated, fast-growing areas. H-E-B has two more stores under construction in Allen and McKinney that will open next summer and says it will break ground in Mansfield early next year.

The Plano store manager, Patrick Gural, is a 16-year veteran of H-E-B. He ran the only Central Market store in Houston before he moved north in late 2019 to work as a regional merchant in North Texas. The store will have an attached e-commerce fulfillment center that will open later, said H-E-B and Central Market spokeswoman Mabrie Jackson.

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Kist and her friend Tommy Trogden started their Facebook group in June 2020, a couple of months after H-E-B said it would start building stores in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Kist and Trogden first called the page “H-E-B is Finally Coming to Plano!” but after the group started attracting an average of 100 new member requests a day, the page was renamed “North Texas H-E-B Fanatics.”

Kist said the biggest question on the site is: “Is there a line in Frisco right now?”

Trogden, a fifth-generation native Texan, said he’s gotten some pushback when talking to neighbors who say, “What? It’s just a grocery store.”

His reply is a playful, “You shut your mouth.”

Twitter: @MariaHalkias

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