WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Hy-Vee Inc. said it has allocated one of its largest construction budgets to date to finance store upgrades and facility expansions necessitated by the changing lifestyles of its customers.
“We’ve studied customer habits and lifestyles and know that fewer people are cooking meals at home than ever before,” said Randy Edeker, Hy-Vee’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We want our offerings to help individuals who are looking for something healthy to eat on the go as well as families who want to enjoy a sit-down meal that they can easily claim as their own.”
Hy-Vee noted that construction is already under way and includes projects across the company’s eight-state region. Projects include:
• A 240,000-square-foot production facility in Ankeny, Iowa, which will serve as a commissary and central bakery as Hy-Vee offers more fresh prepared options and meal kits to its customers. The project includes an expansion of Hy-Vee’s subsidiary PDI.
• A 48,000-square-foot production facility that will support Hy-Vee’s Short Cuts produce brand. The facility, which is adjacent to Hy-Vee’s current distribution center in Chariton, Iowa, will produce fresh cut, retail ready fruits and vegetables for customers beginning in January.
• Construction of 10,000-square-foot convenience and meal solutions stores, named Fast & Fresh, in the Des Moines area and Davenport, Iowa. These stores will feature grocery items, fresh prepared foods and a coffee shop. Another type of small store concept will open in West Des Moines in 2018.
The company is planning to build a large distribution center in southern Minnesota, which would be Hy-Vee’s first center outside of Iowa.
Hy-Vee is also planning to open three new e-commerce fulfillment centers, located in Kansas City, the Twin Cities and Omaha, in the upcoming years. These facilities are in addition to the existing fulfillment center in Des Moines and will meet the needs of the company’s growing online ordering services, the company said.
Over the upcoming weeks, Hy-Vee is transitioning several of its Hy-Vee Market Grille restaurants to Hy-Vee Market Grille Expresses, where customers will be able to quickly order food, pay at a nearby pay station, then sit and enjoy their meal in a casual self-service, contemporary atmosphere, Hy-Vee said.
Each Hy-Vee Market Grille Express will offer a full-service bar where customers can enjoy beverages while viewing sporting events on TV screens positioned around the premises. For busy consumers, the concept permits a quick, convenient eating experience.
Hy-Vee said it would soon make an announcement about the opening of its first Wahlburgers restaurant. In August, the company said it would build, own and operate 26 Wahlburgers, making it the chain’s largest franchisee.