Hy-Vee opens its newest store Tuesday, in Robbinsdale, its ninth grocery in the Twin Cities.
The 86,500-square-foot store at 3505 Bottineau Blvd. is slightly smaller than most of its other Twin Cities stores, which range from 91,000 to 101,000 square feet. It features one element new to the Twin Cities, a Fast & Fresh Express convenience store next to its gas station and Starbucks. It's for the shopper who dashes in for snacks and beverages after filling up the gas tank.
As with any new Hy-Vee store, the main store layout formula has been tweaked. It features the largest dining-room space in any of its 245 stores.
Near its dining options such as Market Grille, Hibachi Asian Grill and Hickory House Comfort Foods, nearly 230 seats beckon customers who want to kick back with friends or meet for a business lunch. "Our clientele likes it, so we devoted more space to it," Hy-Vee Chief Executive Randy Edeker said. "It fits well in the neighborhood. It's for the customer that doesn't want to cook."
The new Mia Pizza station, a wood-fired, made-to-order pizza served in six minutes, replaces the Italian concept Dia Pida in its older stores. Also gone are Cucina Mexican deli, the produce butcher, the New York deli and F&F fast fashion European clothing. The Robbinsdale store does include a Basin, the popular beauty and cosmetics department.
In future store openings, Edeker said he hopes to make a stronger push toward the value shopper. The newest store has one aisle called the "deal zone" with items packaged in larger sizes similar to a warehouse club, and it is likely to be expanded in other stores.
In just three years, Hy-Vee will soon have 10 stores in the Twin Cities. In late fall, the Des Moines-based grocer will open in a former Cub Foods in Plymouth at 16705 County Road 24. Supervalu, which owns Cub, closed the store in July.
Supervalu announced earlier this summer that as part of its sale to United Natural Foods, it will sell off all of its retail stores, including Cub. Edeker said that Supervalu officials have not reached out to him about purchasing any stores.
"I don't think Hy-Vee would want to purchase any Cub stores," said David Livingston, a supermarket analyst in Milwaukee. "They like to hire their own people."
In October, Hy-Vee will bring its plans to open a store in Blaine to the City Council.
By the end of next year, three more Hy-Vees will open in Spring Lake Park, Maple Grove on Bass Lake Road, and another Fast & Fresh convenience store in Lakeville. The timeline for sites in Farmington, Columbia Heights, Chaska and a second site in Maple Grove on Hwy. 610 and Maple Grove Parkway is to be determined.
The new Hy-Vee is the only major supermarket in Robbinsdale, although a Cub store sits a mile away in Crystal. Target and Lunds & Byerlys compete from about 2.5 miles away in Crystal and Golden Valley, respectively. The Twin Cities' first Hy-Vee is more than 3 miles away in New Hope.
Hy-Vee encountered vocal opposition to its new store when it was announced that the site would mean the demolition of the midcentury modern movie theater the Terrace, built by architects Liebenberg and Kaplan. Preservationists attempted to block the construction for months but never successfully raised the $10,000 to $15,000 for a feasibility study or came up with alternative plans for its use. The theater had sat vacant since 1999.
Hy-Vee officials pulled out of plans to build the grocery store after opposition started. "We didn't need the fight," said Edeker. The mayor and the developer eventually pulled Hy-Vee back in.
The store will open at 6 a.m. Tuesday and employ about 500 people with more than 110 full-time employees.