- Most of the 140 employees will return to the PR location
On Monday, the eve of the one-year anniversary of last year’s EF-3 tornado that flattened North Dallas from Harry Hines Boulevard to the Home Depot at Forest and Central — but miraculously killed no one — city officials and representatives from Central Market’s parent company, H-E-B, announced the much-anticipated opening of the beloved Preston Oaks shopping center store: Spring 2021.
And more beloved stores-we-miss news: Preston Road Animal Clinic, I Heart Yogurt, Hollywood Feed, Fish City Grill, Sample House, Marco’s Pizza, Talbots, Tip Top Cleaners, and the Pedi Spa will return by next June, says Regency Centers central region director Patrick Krejs. At that point, the returning and new merchants can finish out the interiors and open up for business.
H-E-B Gives DISD, Dallas Education Fund $1 Million
In its characteristic generosity, H-E-B also announced a million-dollar check to the Dallas Education Foundation to help students in the three local DISD schools hardest hit by the tornado: Thomas Jefferson High School, Cary Middle School, and Walnut Hill Elementary.
It was one year ago this evening, a Sunday night, the ferocious tornado ripped through the store about 8:30 p.m. at night, as store managers bravely ushered about 40 patrons into the dairy and meat coolers for safety. Stephen Butt, president of H-E-B’s Central Market Division says he called the three Dallas stores in the tornado’s path that Sunday night when most everyone was home watching the Dallas Cowboys.
He got a response at the Lovers Lane and Midway Hollow stores, but silence at Preston Royal. In the days following the tornado, when the entire Preston Royal intersection was shut down for nearly a week due to storm debris and felled traffic lights, power lines, and debris, H-E-B generously sent food trucks to keep all relief workers fed.
The store also donated $50,000 right off the bat to help re-build libraries at each of the storm-devoured schools.
From H-E-B’s release:
On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the North Dallas tornados, H-E-B/Central Market announced at press conference today the Central Market located at 10720 Preston Rd. in Dallas will reopen to customers in April/May 2021. The store experienced significant damage from the tornados and storms which swept through North Dallas the evening of Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. The Preston Royal store has been closed ever since while undergoing complete rebuilding and restoration.
The entire landscape of a 15-mile stretch in North Dallas was changed that evening including 10 Dallas ISD schools, three of which experienced significant damage and were not able to reopen at their original campuses. At Monday’s press conference, H-E-B/Central Market also announced a $1 million gift to the Dallas Education Foundation for the direct benefit of Dallas ISD as they continue with the rebuilding process.
“H-E-B/Central Market is committed not only to rebuilding the Preston Royal corner, but we are committed to this community as a whole,” said Stephen Butt, president, Central Market/H-E-B Division. “Our company has a long-standing commitment to public education throughout the state and we’re proud to participate in helping Dallas ISD with additional funds to rebuild these schools in our own backyard. On the anniversary of the tornado, we’re hoping to re-energize the attention still needed to rebuild this part of the city and are inviting others to join us in these efforts.”
Mita Havlick, executive director of the Dallas Education Foundation said, “H-E-B/Central Market understands, through their many years of supporting public education, that it takes a community to educate a child. We are beyond grateful to H-E-B/Central Market and Mr. Butt for this incredibly generous gift. Even more so, we appreciate their commitment to community and our Dallas ISD students, teachers and schools, especially those whose lives have been forever impacted by the October 2019 tornadoes.”
In addition to the $1 million gift, Central Market is gifting 50 new trees to the neighborhood through the RETREET organization. One of the signatures of this well-established Dallas community is the beautiful mature canopy of trees throughout – most of which were destroyed during the storm. The trees will be replanted to help bring the area back to its original beauty.
Central Market began the cleanup, restoration and rebuilding process immediately following the storm. Unfortunately, most of the surrounding shopping center did not fare as well and had to be leveled due to structural damage.
Patrick Krejas, managing director of the Central Region, Regency Centers, the developers of the shopping center, said “Preston Oaks has long served the surrounding community, and will continue to do so for many years. Our team, along with the support of our retailers and the city of Dallas, have been working tirelessly to bring this center back to life as quickly and responsibly as possible. We look forward to welcoming everyone back as our construction progresses through 2021.”
Through the renovation process, Central Market is adding several new features and amenities to the Preston Royal store including curbside service, expanded produce, seafood and floral departments, additional grocery selection, a larger sandwich bar, a new and improved coffee bar experience and additional customer seating in the upstairs mezzanine area. The store is also focused on more energy efficient fixtures and equipment to perform as a greener neighbor. In addition, careful attention is being paid to the construction materials and architecture to highlight and complement the Mid-Century modern aesthetics of the original building.
“With every cloud there is a silver lining, and this has certainly held true in the Preston Royal neighborhood during this time of recovery and rebuilding,” said Butt. “Throughout this process, the entire community has stepped up to help each other through clean up efforts, meal delivery, donations and volunteers. We are more than ready to get our doors reopened so we can start seeing and serving our loyal Preston Royal customers again.”
Approximately 130 Central Market partners (store employees) were employed by the Preston Royal store at the time of the storm. All of these partners were given the opportunity to transfer to another Central Market location while their Central Market was being rebuilt. It is planned for many of the original store team to return to Preston Royal for the store reopening.
“Our top priority is serving our customers. I’ve been very proud of our store leadership and team as they’ve continued to keep these relationships strong during our rebuilding process, said Butt. Whether it was serving meals to first responders and neighbors from our H-E-B Mobile Kitchen immediately following the storm or delivering groceries and cleaning supply buckets to surrounding neighborhoods, we want our customers to know that we are here to serve beyond the walls of our store and will be ready to welcome them back when our doors open again in the spring.”
Immediately following the tornado in October, Central Market gifted the Dallas Education Foundation $50,000 to use toward rebuilding libraries in the three schools damaged in the storms.