SIOUX CITY | Darin Turner strolled through the new Hy-Vee Mainstreet store on Sioux City's north side as employees stocked shelves and performed other tasks in advance of opening for the first time this week.
The neighborhood store at 2611 Pierce St. combines a grocery store with a smaller footprint than a typical Hy-Vee supermarket with cafe serving made-to-order fare and a pharmacy with a drive-up window.
"It's a hometown grocery store feel with all the amenities," said Turner, the store director.
Hy-Vee has three other Mainstreet concept stores, which are designed to fit neighborhoods like the one in Sioux City, where many customers walk from nearby homes to shop because they don't have their own transportation.
The Pierce Street store is Hy-Vee's first Mainstreet built from the ground up, and will serve as a prototype for future locations for the West Des Moines-based chain, which operates in eight Midwest states. The other Mainstreet stores adapted existing buildings.
The Sioux City Mainstreet replaces the smaller Hy-Vee Drugstore next door at the junction of Pierce, 27th Street and Stone Park Boulevard. The $3 million investment was more than four years in the making.
The move to a larger store with expanded hours created 60 new jobs, raising the total number of Hy-Vee employees at the Pierce Street site to nearly 80.
The older store closed for the final time on Saturday night. The pharmacy will be closed Sunday during the move from the old building to the new one. Customers will have access to the pharmacy area only in the new store from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday.
The entire store will open to the public at 7 a.m. Tuesday. Normal store hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.
Boasting more than 14,000 square feet, the new store is nearly twice as large as its 8,700-square-foot predecessor. The added space gives customers access to fresh produce, a butcher shop and other grocery items for the first time, and a broader selection of other merchandise, such as wine and spirits and pharmacy products.
Customers entering the new store will immediately notice another new amenity, called the Mainstreet Grill.
The cafe, which seats up to 38 people, will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.
"Everything is made fresh to order," said Turner, who noted that anything on the menu is available all day long. A jumbo pork tenderloin in the morning? Coming right up. Pancakes, eggs and sausage at night? No problem.
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The menu includes a wide selection of sandwiches, from burgers, hot dogs and patty melts, to Reubens, BLTs and grilled chicken breast, as well as an assortment of wraps. Also available are four varieties of soups daily, salads, and side dishes such as fries, onion rings and garlic-sauteed mushrooms.
Caribou Coffee is served at the cafe, which also includes data outlets and several large-screen TVs.
Turner said he expects the Grill to be a welcome addition for neighborhood residents, many of whom have found memories of the former Soo Thrifty Drug Store lunch counter. The building that housed it was razed to make way for the new Hy-Vee Mainstreet.
"It was pretty exciting to say we will be putting a kitchen back into that area," Turner said.
Other highlights of the new store include:
-- A full-service pharmacy double the size of the one in the old drug store. Set aside from the main floor and with a drive-thru for added convenience, the new pharmacy is staffed by four pharmacists and eight certified technicians. A dietician also will be on site Tuesdays and Thursdays.
-- A produce area with 70 feet of display space for 125 items, from vegetables to fruits.
-- A butcher shop with a 16-foot-long service case featuring fresh cuts of beef, pork and chicken. Other offerings include a selection of seafood and ready-for-the-grill items like peppers and mushrooms.
-- A 22-door freezer along the back wall holding a wide selection of frozen foods.
-- Refrigerated coolers displaying an array of dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese, as well as other items such as hot dogs and luncheon meats.
-- An expanded wine and spirits areas. Turner said there are more than 100 different wine selections, and about that many beer choices, including several artisan brews.
-- Seven grocery aisles, compared to just two in the old store. Turner said Hy-Vee officials stocked the shelves with some of the most popular items, based in part on sales data from the larger Hamilton Hy-Vee supermarket at Marketplace Shopping Centre.
"What we try to do is take the best of the best of the items," Turner said. "We looked at price, as well as variety."
At the customer service counter, shoppers have access to a variety of services, including postage stamps, dry cleaning, money orders and lottery tickets.
The old drug store will be razed in the next six weeks, creating room for 75 parking spaces. In the meantime, Turner said customers can park in a temporary lot across the street from the new store.