Give Hy-Vee a high five for being one of the largest privately
owned US supermarket chains, despite serving some modestly sized
towns in the Midwest. The company runs some 235 stores in
eight Midwestern states. About half of its supermarkets are in
Iowa, as are most of its 20-plus Hy-Vee drugstores. It distributes
products to its stores through several subsidiaries, including
Lomar Distributing (specialty foods) and Perishable Distributors of
Iowa (fresh foods). Other activities include construction and
specialty pharmacies. Charles Hyde and David Vredenburg founded the
employee-owned firm in 1930. It takes its name from a
combination of its founders' names.
Hy-Vee's stores are located in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas,
Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The
company supplies its stores from distribution centers in Chariton
and Cherokee, Iowa.
In addition to its food and drug retail operations, Hy-Vee
offers customers financial products. Adding to its menu
of financial services, Hy-Vee subsidiary Midwest Heritage Bank
in 2011 acquired Iowa-based L&K Insurance, a full-line
insurance agency. L&K changed its name to Midwest Heritage
Insurance Services post sale.
Hy-Vee's 235 stores ring up more than $8 billion in annual
Hy-Vee is gradually expanding in several
key markets in the Midwest, including Chicago, Minneapolis-St.
Paul, and Madison, Wisconsin. To that end, the regional grocery
chain in 2014 announced plans to enter the Twin Cities market. In
2013 the chain opened its second supermarket in Madison,
after entering the Madison market in 2009. To cater to local
tastes, the company says the 80,000-sq.-ft. Madison store has
the largest cheese selection of any Hy-Vee
supermarket. Hy-Vee is also testing a smaller-format store
(about 20,000-25,000 sq. ft., with no pharmacies) in select
locations. It's also adding stores in its core Iowa market, with a
supermarket slated to open in Winterset in 2014.
Going beyond traditional grocery fare, Hy-Vee in 2013 acquired
its joint venture partner's stake in Hy-Vee Weitz Company, a
construction firm based in Des Moines. The grocery store operator
renamed the company Hy-Vee Construction and plans to expand the
in-house construction management group. The company also teamed up
with specialty pharmacy operator Amber Pharmacy to form a new
company (called Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions) to provide services
for patients with complex and chronic health problems, including
Crohn's disease, hemophilia, psoriasis, and other chronic ailments.
The grocery chain has also been focusing on adding Hy-Vee Gas
convenience units (some 80 locations include these), wine and
spirits stores, pharmacies, and Hy-Vee HealthMarket
Ric Jurgens in 2012 retired as chairman and CEO after
43-years with Hy-Vee. He was succeeded by president and COO Randy