SAN ANTONIO — IN A DECADE WHEN THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY is facing a growing customer demographic comfortable with digital technology the demand for print could be fading as quickly as the incandescent light bulb. H.E. Butt Grocery Co., however, appears dedicated to print by promoting literacy in community outreach programs.
This summer the retailer debuted a children's literacy center at a store in Tomball. The 300-square-foot center is next to toys and books/magazines in an area outside the traffic center where kids can sit at tables and read, according to a report in Publishers Weekly. HEB stocks mostly Golden Books and inexpensive paperbacks for kids.
A remodeled location in Laredo also is scheduled for a center, according to the report.
“With all the video and gaming, a lot of kids have forgotten how important reading is,” Jim Dahlen, HEB senior buyer, publishing and audio/video electronics, told PW.
The retailer also drew awareness to its kids' books by hosting several stops on the 17-city tour of Junie B. Jones Stupid Smelly Bus. Over 700 people reportedly turned out at an HEB Plus store in Laredo, and 600 at a store in Houston. In San Antonio, HEB distributed free Junie B. Jones books by Barbara Park to over 225 children from a local shelter, United Way and the Boys and Girls club.
HEB is said to devote 16 feet to children's books in 140 out of 300 of its stores.
SN could not reach HEB for further comment on this program.