With the opening of each new Hy-Vee store, Twin Cities consumers get a glimpse into the future of supermarkets.
The Hy-Vee store that opened in Savage Tuesday features several firsts, including a cosmetics and beauty department called Basin and several new grab-and-go food offerings. A store it plans to open next year in White Bear Lake will have a fitness center in the mix with takeout foods, restaurants, clothing, and, oh yeah, groceries.
“We look at the Minneapolis-St. Paul area as a sophisticated market,” Randy Edeker, Hy-Vee’s chief executive, said in an interview this week. “Our store designs are evolving as we see how people shop.”
The new 98,300-square-foot store at 6150 Egan Drive in Savage also makes its first nod to Minnesota’s liquor laws.
The south metro suburb is one of many communities that only allows municipal liquor stores, so Hy-Vee included space for the city of Savage to run one of its outlets, which the city agreed to do and readied for the opening. “The space was designed and built to Hy-Vee’s specs and we chose the products,” said Suzie Dahl, store manager for Savage municipal liquor stores.
“We think wine and spirits is part of how today’s customer wants to shop,” Edeker said.
The 24-hour store also includes amenities found at other Twin Cities locations, such as a Market Grille restaurant, Juice & Smoothies Island, Hickory House comfort foods, Cocina Mexicana made to order, a bagel shop, F & F fashions for the family, as well as a pharmacy with drive-up, Starbucks, dry cleaning and postal service.
It adds Dia Pida Italian Street Food, Long Island Deli sandwich shop, Hibachi Asian Grill and a “produce butcher,” who will chop, slice, dice, mince or julienne fruits and vegetables to order at no charge.
The new store in Savage is Hy-Vee’s 243rd and sixth in the Twin Cities, a market it entered with stores in New Hope and Oakdale 18 months ago. It has subsequently opened locations in Brooklyn Park, Eagan and Lakeville.
Next week, Hy-Vee for the first time will open a store in an urban downtown and chose Des Moines, its headquarters city. The downtown store will be 36,000 square feet in size, slightly larger than Target’s smaller stores in Dinkytown and Highland Park. Edeker said Hy-Vee is looking for appropriate spaces in both downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul for similar stores.
Hy-Vee plans to open two more stores in the Twin Cities this year: Cottage Grove in the summer and Shakopee in the fall. Other stores in the pipeline include Farmington, two locations in Maple Grove, Columbia Heights, Robbinsdale, Chaska and White Bear Lake.
Edeker said that plans to make the Twin Cities its biggest market remain on track. The Kansas City area, currently its largest market, has 20 Hy-Vees.
By comparison, Cub Foods has nearly 70 stores in the metro, Target about 50, Aldi more than 35, Wal-Mart nearly 20 and Kowalski’s 11.
With so much competition fighting for consumer dollars, David Livingston, a supermarket analyst from Milwaukee, thinks there will inevitably be some losers in the fight. “Hy-Vee may not have a large market share yet, but it is disrupting the market,” he said.
Hy-Vee typically builds new stores rather than taking over existing ones. “We have a specific design, but we’ll consider an existing store,” Edeker said.
Sales are meeting expectations in the Twin Cities, Edeker said but he is not looking at total market share. “We’re taking it community by community,” he said. “We’re not looking to dominate the market. We just want to be the best in each community.”