Hy-Vee announces plans for Twin Cities expansion

Watch out, Rainbow. Iowa's employee-owned supermarket, Hy-Vee, has announced plans to open several locations in the Twin Cities, in addition to the 17 southern Minnesota stores it currently operates. Hy-Vee currently has 235 stores in eight states and takes in $8 billion annually. The chain plans to spend $14-16 million on the approximately 90,000-square foot Twin Cities locations set to open in the next few years.

"We have been looking in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area for a number of years and the time, I think, is right for retail expansion of all kinds. We started looking for properties in the area more seriously about a year ago," spokesperson Chris Friesleben said.

According to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Hy-Vee is the 33rd largest employer in the state with 5,100 employees. With the upcoming expansion, it's estimated that the supermarket chain will employ another 400 to 500 Minnesotans.

"You can look for two or three stores new a year over the next several years. I don't know that we even know how many the market can handle, but our goal is to have a very significant presence in the Twin Cities area," Friesleben said. "Once we do have the property... it takes us anywhere from 11 to 13 months to build a store."

Hy-Vee locations often come equipped with pharmacies, small sit-down cafes, in-store dieticians, postal services, dry cleaning, floral shops, and coffee bars. More importantly, Hy-Vee is the maker and distributor of Heee Haw, our favorite Mountain Dew knockoff.

Hy-Vee's announcement comes just a month after Roundy's quietly revealed that it would be closing two Rainbow locations, in addition to the three locations that were shut down last year due to increasing competition from Walmart and Target. According to a Star Tribune article from January, Rainbow has fallen from second to fourth place in market shares over the last year.

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