Podcast: Hy-Vee’s Randy Edeker Talks Expansion and Innovation

This year, Midwest grocer Hy-Vee announced plans to expand into four new states: Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama. The move will bring the West Des Moines, Iowa-based chain its first southern locations.

Currently, Hy-Vee’s footprint spans over 285 grocery stores and pharmacies in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin. .

“Really, it’s only been a few years that we’ve been looking at the footprint we have and how the market is changing,” Hy-Vee Chairman, President and CEO Randy Edeker told Supermarket News in a statement. interview at the recent IMF Midwinter Conference. in Orlando, Florida.

“COVID has blown up the grocery industry, and a lot of things have changed,” he explained. “So it’s not we’re leaving the region we’re in. It’s really looking to the future – where are we going to grow? And as we look at cities with more than 150,000 people, those would be our targets. If you look at our [current] an eight-state trading territory, there are only 18 cities with populations over 150,000.

Hy-Vee is also known for its retail innovation in store formats – including one-stop department stores and convenience-focused locations, dining, health and wellness, and wine and spirits. – and in-store concepts. These include store displays in the store featuring non-traditional supermarket offerings such as fitness equipment, footwear, apparel and accessories, and bath and beauty products, as well as nail salons and eyewear kiosks.

“We think you have to keep trying things,” Edeker said. “How do you fire a bullet and then fire a cannonball? You go out and test some things and you measure those things and see what works and what the customer likes and dislikes.

“The consumer is scattered all over the place today. So we just try to find the formats that are dictated by the lifestyle of the customers,” he noted.

Additionally, Hy-Vee has recently expanded its already broad healthcare offering with the launch of telehealth and online pharmacy services, nicknamed RedBox Rxand expanded its e-commerce presence beyond grocery pickup and delivery to home delivery servicescovering categories such as bulk goods, health and wellness, and pet supplies.

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