After 25 Years, Central Market is Still Changing the Way We Think About Groceries

When Central Market opened in 1994, few people had heard of a grocery store that didn’t sell laundry detergent.

Supermarkets, after all, were designed as a one-stop shop for household needs, from food to toiletries, where shoppers could get in and out quickly and with ease. Customers might be hungry, but they were headed home to cook and eat, so why bother selling hot food beyond what they might take home to feed their families?

But in the early 1990s, H-E-B started working on a new concept: a high-end grocery store that would feature hard-to-find ingredients and untold new varieties of wine and cheese and that would cater to the kind of cook who wasn’t necessarily shopping to save money or time.

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