Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hy Vee - Helpful Smiles & Superstar Producer

Growing up in central Iowa there were really two places to pick up your groceries, Dahl's and Hy Vee.  I remember cruising the aisles of the Dahls on Grand in WDM with my Great Grandmother Young who would smoke a cigarette and put out her butts on in the ashtray on the cart.  The store stands to this day and can bring back vivid memories but fortunately the smoke has left the building. These were the days that spawned my interest in grocery stores that lasts till this day.  Brand loyalty can be very strong when it comes to food stores.  In spite of my family's leanings towards Dahl's I have always been a Hy Vee guy myself. Perhaps it is the little jingle, their early forays into private label goods, or the extensive selection delightfulness at their delis.  Whatever it is Hy Vee left quite the impression on me as a youth, so much so that my first job out of college was as a supervisor at the store in Grinnell. Unlike some former Hy Vee employees, Ashton Kutcher and Kurt Warner come to mind, I have not used this foundation to leap towards stardom but my brief time bagging and stocking and fronting and chatting did leave its impression. To this day I often find myself wandering the aisles of my local market and am considered a bit of a grocery snob.  I can say with authority then that when it comes to large grocery chains Hy Vee still leaves most of others in its rear view mirror.  I no longer long to be the Chairman of the Board, though I would not turn down the job if it were offered, and I do not know if butchers can still become millionaires by working behind the counter for 30 years but I do make a point of hitting up a Hy Vee whenever i am back home.  Oh and what is with Beaconsfield, Iowa.  First an astronaut now the birthplace of the state's most iconic retailer, quite the track record for a town of less than 100 folk!

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