H-E-B owners among richest families in US, according to Forbes

The Butt family, which owns the San Antonio-based grocery chain H-E-B, is among the wealthiest in the U.S., according to a ranking by Forbes.

On Dec. 17, the business magazine listed the family at No. 15 out of 50 families in its 2020 ranking of the richest families in America. The last time Forbes complied this ranking was in June 2016. At that time, the Butt family was the 23rd wealthiest family in the U.S.

Since then, the family’s net worth jumped from $11 billion to $17.8 billion, according to Forbes.

Forbes previously ranked Charles Butt, H-E-B chairman and CEO, in its annual richest people in America and its billionaire’s ranking before the magazine changed its methodology in 2016 to exclude individuals from families who share their fortunes.

Charles, whose grandmother Florence Butt opened the family’s first grocery store in Kerrville in 1905, started as a bag boy when he was 8, according to the San Antonio Express-News. He took over management of what was then a growing chain from his father Howard Edward Butt in 1971 after he earned business degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Business School.

H-E-B, which boasts more than 340 stores in Texas and Mexico, produces more than $16 billion in annual sales, Forbes said.

The nation’s largest family fortune, $247 billion, belongs to the Waltons, owners of Walmart.