Mercedes residents still waiting for a new H-E-B

MERCEDES — Residents will have to wait a little longer before a new H-E-B is built in the city.

“It’s business, I understand, but what are we going to do about the Ohio Street?” said Robert Elizondo, a Mercedes resident and property owner next to H-E-B.

In July 2012, the city of Mercedes held a public hearing on a request to abandon a portion of Ohio Street and voted to abandon the street between Hidalgo and Cameron streets.

Ohio Street splits the store’s current location and the new property H-E-B purchased in 2012.

Elizondo and two other property owners have the only plots of land stopping HEB from owning two city blocks in Mercedes.

Elizondo said he believes H-E-B bought the property directly across the street from his with the intent to build.

Elizondo said he thinks H-E-B is waiting to see what their competitors do before they build in Mercedes.

“I heard they were going to put a super center including delis,” Elizondo said.

Over the years, city residents have been posting comments to Facebook to give their opinions and ideas for the grocery store’s future development.

Many are asking for a new H-E-B and have been hoping for one since 2012.

Others have asked for organic foods and more products.

The current H-E-B opened in 1996. Many residents are saying they have outgrown the current store and are asking for an H-E-B Plus.

“I know HEB will build, but as to when, I don’t know,” Mayor Henry Hinojosa said. “And when they do build, that’s when that section of Ohio Street will be abandoned, but not until then.”

Hinojosa said he spoke with H-E-B officials several months ago to obtain information about their future development, but H-E-B officials were tight-lipped.

He said H-E-B officials would only say they are monitoring their Weslaco store on Texas Avenue and if the Weslaco store becomes overwhelmed, that’s when they will decide to build in Mercedes.

“Right now, the percentage of business in our store doesn’t warrant a new or bigger H-E-B,” Hinojosa said.

H-E-B was not available to comment for this report. Every attempt was made to contact H-E-B for this story.