The company was founded on November 26, 1905 when Florence Butt opened the C.C. Butt Grocery Store on the ground floor of her family home in Kerrville, Texas. In 1919, Howard Edward Butt, Florence’s youngest son, took over the store upon his return from World War I. Shortly after becoming owner of his mother’s small store, Howard tried four expansions into Central Texas, including one in Junction, all of which failed. Finally in 1927, Howard launched a successful second store in Del Rio, followed by the purchase of three grocery stores in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The first initials of Howard E. Butt became the name of the store.
Charles, the younger son of Howard E. Butt, became president of the H.E. Butt Grocery Company in 1971. As of 2010, Charles Butt is chairman and CEO of HEB Grocery Company, LP, having grown the business from annual sales of $250 million in 1971 to $13 billion in 2006. In 2010, Craig Boyan was named H-E-B’s President and COO. In 2011, the company was #12 on Forbes’ list of largest privately held companies; H-E-B was for many years, until Dell went private in 2013, also the largest privately held company in Texas