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Hy-Vee’s Big Convenience Play

Supermarket, c-store retailer to open new large-format concept store

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- Supermarket and convenience-store chain Hy-Vee Inc. will open a larger-than-usual c-store in Lakeview, Minn.

At approximately 8,800 square feet, the new store will be much bigger than traditional convenience stores, which range from 1,500 to 5,000 square feet. When the company first announced the concept store earlier this year, it said the store would be between 10,000 to 15,000 square feet.

The store will be 3 miles from Hy-Vee’s 91,000-square-foot Lakeville supermarket, according to a report by the Pioneer Press.

West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee operates more than 140 c-stores with fuel in the parking lots of its grocery stores.

“It’s a new concept,” Phil Hoey, director of real estate for Hy-Vee, said at the Lakeville City Council meeting on July 17. “It’s a very fresh convenience store with coffee.”

It features a Starbucks with a drive-thru and a “miniature” Market Grille, as well as produce, prepared meals and a meat department.

He explained Hy-Vee’s strategy with the concept: “What we’re trying to do with this concept is meet the needs of those folks who live busy lives, their kids are involved in extracurricular activities, and preparing meals at home is maybe a challenge for them. So they can come here, pick up a healthy prepared meal, pick up some fresh produce, pick up their milk, pick up their eggs, pick up a pound of hamburger or some steaks, and be able to take that home.”

The difference between the new concept and traditional c-stores is “the variety of what is offered inside,” he said. “Most convenience stores you walk in today and you a say, ‘this feels large,’ those are less than 5,000 square feet. So this is quite a bit larger than the largest convenience store you’ve been in. And inside, we’ve filled that with more fresh produce, more fresh prepared meals. So when you walk into a convenience store today, you’ll see the chip aisle and the candy aisle and the snack aisle and you’ll see the coolers with the pop. This will have a significantly different feel to it, because it will have a whole section just devoted to prepared meals … that a normal convenience store would not have.”

The new store will be the first of its kind in the Twin Cities. “We currently do not have any other Hy-Vee convenience stores like this in our eight-state operating territory,” Hy-Vee spokesperson Tara Deering-Hansen told CSP Daily News. “There are no other Hy-Vee convenience stores like this planned in the Twin Cities, but we are reviewing other potential locations in the Twin Cities and our other markets for this type of concept.”

The company proposed one of the large-format c-stores to the Eden Prairie, Minn., planning commission in September 2016, but the company is no longer pursuing that location. “The project did not move forward because of site access issues,” she said.

Deering-Hansen did not say when the Lakeville store will open. “At this time, we do not have a definitive construction timeline for this project,” she said.

Hy-Vee is an employee-owned corporation operating more than 240 retail stores across eight Midwestern states with sales of $9.8 billion annually.

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