What Is Hy-Vee and Why Is It Called That? Grab the Cart, We’ve Got Answers

Where you shop for groceries is a very personal matter. Are you a busy snacker who needs easy, premade meals? It’s Trader Joe’s for you. Are you a family of 12 that appreciates exclusivity? Better renew your Costco membership. Do you have a strong sense of regional pride and are lucky enough to live in a place where one of those magical, near-perfect, local, unicorn grocery store chains operates? You probably have a very strong allegiance to Publix, Wegmans, HEB, or Hy-Vee and you will defend your store’s honor at the drop of a hat. Oh, you’re not familiar with Hy-Vee? Who owns that wonderful place? How many stores are there? And where is the Hy-Vee headquarters? Those are all great questions, and if you stop asking them for a minute I’ll answer them.

What is Hy-Vee? 

I know it sounds like a really hard to hit musical note, but Hy-Vee is actually an employee owned grocery store with locations mostly in the midwest United States and slowly expanding into the South. The largest Hy-Vees are typical big supermarkets with everything you’d expect: bakeries, pharmacies, delis, and florists. Some also have decent priced gas stations. 

Who really owns Hy-Vee?

Many of the employees have a vested interest in the success of the company as direct or indirect stockholders, meaning the employees really do own the store. This seems to translate to happier, more helpful store associates, which makes shopping at Hy-Vee a more pleasant experience for customers. Appropriately, the company slogan is “A Helpful Smile in Every Aisle.”

How many Hy-Vee stores are there? 

There are around 285 Hy-Vee stores at the time of this writing. The trick is to say “around” so that as a few new ones are built and people read this in the future, they can still be like, “Oh yeah, that’s technically correct.” Hy-Vee is generally a Midwest chain, with stores located in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Indiana. But they also have stores in, or opening soon in a few southern states as well such as Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama. 

Where is Hy-Vee headquarters located? 

Hy-Vee headquarters is in West Des Moines, Iowa. Charles Hyde and David Vredenburg opened Hy-Vee’s first store in Beaconsfield, Iowa, in 1930. The men called their operation Hyde & Vredenburg, but in 1953 they held a contest to rename the stores and the winning entry combined the founders’ names to make the grocery store known as Char-Vid. No wait, I mean Hy-Vee.

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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