By students Jordan Becker, Tim Schumann, Aaron Sykes, Allison Hartwig, Sophie Auerswald, Katherine Nelsen, Wei Chen, Christian Avina, Taylor Hedl, Sophia Minter & Julia Berman
Hy-Vee is an extremely profitable company that is most well known for being a popular Midwestern grocer. However, they have recently decided to become involved in all facets of retail. Their expansion ranges from health and beauty products, to full service restaurants and stand-alone clothes sections within the grocery stores. Hy-Vee has it all. Founded in 1930 in Beaconsfield, Iowa by Charles Hyde and David Vredenberg, Hy-Vee has progressed from a small family owned store front, to a corporation with over two hundred and forty locations in eight midwestern states. Along the way, they have continued to stick with their motto of, “A friendly smile in every aisle”, to ensure that each of their customers have a pleasant experience when they walk through Hy-Vee’s doors. Jamie Franck (District Vice President) and Heather McAnally (Vice President, Fashion and Beauty) were excellent examples of these ideals and expressed it through their presentations to our Retail Leadership Symposium class on September 14, 2016.
In order to stand out in a world full of grocery stores, Hy-Vee strives to stand above the rest by creating and maintaining an emotional connection with their customers. One of the ways in which they accomplish this is consistently going above and beyond for all of their customers. Jamie described several examples that showcase how this mission is put into action. One example he described was if a customer were to bring a spoiled gallon of milk from another grocer, Hy-Vee would gladly give the customer a new gallon at no cost. This creates a special emotional connection between the customer and Hy-Vee, ensuring the customer will continue to choose Hy-Vee over other grocery retailers. Throughout Jamie and Heather’s presentation, it was clear that this ideal is also exhibited in the work environment of Hy-Vee.
As Jamie and Heather expressed throughout their presentation, Hy-Vee’s employees act as a family. Being an employee owned company, Hy-Vee ensures all of their employees are continually challenged in a supportive environment. One of the ways in which this is exhibited is the thorough freedom that every store has. Compared to most retailers, Hy-Vee has a small corporate team and gives most of the control and power to the store directors. These individuals, as well as other store employees are continually motivated to drive sales as they are offered a bonus check at the end of each quarter that reflects the store’s profits. Distributing bonuses to every store employee shows the true dedication that Hy-Vee has for their employees. This can also be shown through the fact that in Hy-Vee’s many years of operating experience, there has been minimal loss of key employees, specifically Vice Presidents, of which they have lost none to other competing companies. Through both the excellent customer service and phenomenal work environment, Hy-Vee continues to be an industry leader in the Midwest.
All in all, it was a great experience being able to hear about Hy-Vee and the culture that surrounds the company. It was very evident that Hy-Vee is truly one big family and will continue to grow in vast amounts in the years to come.
Through both the excellent customer service and phenomenal work environment, Hy-Vee continues to be an industry leader in the Midwest.
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