Hy-Vee: The "Haggen" of the Midwest?

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SamSpade
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Hy-Vee: The "Haggen" of the Midwest?

Post by SamSpade » April 27th, 2018, 9:16 pm

So this week I am in the Lincoln, NE area and of course that means visiting local operators that do not exist in my home region.

I visited the nearby Hy-Vee and had a meal at their Market Grille. It was delicious. For this area, the price point seemed a little high but nothing outrageous. Most entrees were around $15. Desserts $6-8. Typical restaurant prices where I'm from. The portion probably could have been split between two diners especially if they had an appetizer as well.

The restaurant had a full bar and TVs everywhere. Well-rounded channels between sports, the Weather Channel, and the Food Network.

Anyway, the actual supermarket was laid out similar to a Haggen after the recent rebranding/remodel of the previous TOP Foods locations, similar to Olympia, Wash. location (not the "original" Haggen). Or, you could compare it to Utah's Harmon's stores. The store had lots of informational / special signs on chalkboards, similar to those at Trader Joe's.

There's a large Team Shop apparel area that knocks over what most Albertsons or Safeway stores are selling. There were also those trash cans with various NFL teams available.

The pharmacy had all the drug items in front of it, then next to that was a (mid-level) department store quality merchandised health and beauty department, including a large bath bomb display, and a separate natural/organic food section similar to what Fred Meyer stores have merchandised as "Natural Choices."

Liquor, beer, and wine were in their own area that is closed off after a certain time of night as the store is open 24-7. Pricing in there was very reasonable as well (liquor seems to be low cost in NE).

Bakery pricing was high but appeared very high quality. They had many signs emphasizing their from-scratch donuts. The case wasn't self-serve so you would need to buy them when the bakery was open. Meat and seafood looked great and are staffed until 10 pm nightly. There were grab and go meal kits in boxes in a refrigerator here near the meat department. There was also a "reminder"/introduction display of those near the store entrance.

The traditional grocer deli section was closed and cleaned up for the night so I haven't seen the salads on display but there is a broad selection. To the right of that is the entrance to the restaurant then finally many of the same foods served in the restaurant/bar are available as to go as hot food - Chinese, salad bar (with a lot of weird pricing options), fried chicken, pizza.

Today the company also made the local news as they were giving away seedlings for Arbor Day (as well as planting trees in Iowa). Link to another market's story about this

pseudo3d
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Re: Hy-Vee: The "Haggen" of the Midwest?

Post by pseudo3d » April 27th, 2018, 9:59 pm

I sort of got the impression that Hy-Vee was a fairly "normal" supermarket with only recent new-builds in the last 5-10 years have been these huge 80k-100k square foot palaces. Is this not correct...?

storewanderer
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Re: Hy-Vee: The "Haggen" of the Midwest?

Post by storewanderer » April 27th, 2018, 11:20 pm

Hy Vee is a great operator and doesn't get as much credit as it deserves due to operating in regions that most do not pay much attention to. I think they are one of the best operators in the US. I like they much better than Publix, for example.

They have been building the large stores for at least the past 15-20 years.

The other interesting thing about Hy Vee is the store manager has significant control over the store operation and you will find as you go to different Hy Vees that pricing, promotions, merchandising, and policies will vary widely from store to store, even stores just a few miles apart.

I have generally found their prices to be on the high side, but if you go from Hy Vee to Hy Vee due to the different prices by location, you can do okay if you know your prices.

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