‘Hy-ly’ anticipated grocery store opens

By Jason Pfrommer

A new retail and grocery chain, the Iowa-based Hy-Vee, has worked its way into DeKalb County.

The Sycamore location at 2700 DeKalb Ave. opened its doors to customers June 14 after over a year of construction.

Hy-Vee store director Kerry Sherlock said the grand opening was on pace for what was expected at any typical store opening. The site has been the location of several other businesses. Most recently, Kmart closed in 2008. Sherlock said she believes Hy-Vee will do well in its location regardless of the previous businesses that have come and gone.

Hy-Vee offers a variety of services that might not be found at your typical grocery store. Customers can speak with an in-store dietitian, access a club room that is available for anything from private parties to cooking classes, partake in an on-site Caribou Coffee and create their own six-pack in the wine and spirits department.

The employee-owned Hy-Vee will have more to offer DeKalb County than in-store amenities.

“Each store acts to determine how they want to participate within the community they’re located in,” said Ruth Comer, assistant vice president of media relations for Hy-Vee.

Kyle Anderson, manager of store operations, said he was directly involved with one of the more specific ways Hy-Vee plans to give back to the community.

“We’ll be donating food to local shelters to make sure we’re not wasting any product,” Anderson said.

Anderson added that a schedule has been set up to make sure the donated food is ready to be picked up by Meals On Wheels, 1606 Bethany Road. Hy-Vee will also be donating non-food items to local shelters as another way to participate in the community.

Anderson said that once the Hy-Vee location was established, it was important to find an organization with which to work that positively affected the community.

Although Hy-Vee’s presence in DeKalb County may create more competition for surrounding retailers and grocers, Sycamore Mayor Ken Mundy said local businesses may want to think twice before worrying about their stores receiving less customer traffic.

“Other folks can be concerned, but when you have competition, the consumers have more choices,” Mundy said. Ultimately this competition will be an economical strength rather than a hindrance, he said.

Sherlock said he does not want to give the impression that the store was created as a way to drive out other local businesses.

“We come in and offer goods and services at competitive prices; it’s not our intention to steal business,” he said.

Mundy said that although the location has not been known historically for bringing in the most revenue for Sycamore, the fact that Hy-Vee Corporation was willing to put $15 million into the location, which created more than 400 jobs, has already made a huge impact on the community.

DeKalb mayor Kris Povlsen agrees that the addition of a new grocery store will more than likely do more to help the economy throughout DeKalb and Sycamore. Povlsen said that even though some businesses may see a decrease in traffic for a short time, it’s nothing they should be worried about and it will be corrected after consumer loyalties reinsert themselves.

“Competition is always going to stretch the dollar farther,” Povlsen said.