Hy-Vee Changes Drug Town Banner to Own Brand

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- Over the course of the next few months, Hy-Vee, Inc. will change the name of its 26-store Drug Town subsidiary to Hy-Vee Drugstores, a move that company officials say will better reflects the relationship between the retailer's two formats.

"Hy-Vee is one of the best known brand names in the Midwest," said Gary Goodhall, a.v.p. of pharmacy and operations for Hy-Vee's Drug Town. "Customers in seven states identify Hy-Vee with quality products, friendly service and great values. As we continue to expand our chain of retail drug stores, the name Hy-Vee Drugstore will allow us to take advantage of that brand identity."

Hy-Vee, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, opened its first retail drug store in Cedar Rapids in 1969. At that time, very few supermarkets included pharmacies, so the company called the new stores Drug Town to differentiate them from its food stores.

Today, 36 years later, the trend toward one-stop shopping has led to the integration of supermarkets and pharmacies, Goodhall noted, adding that Hy-Vee, with 199 retail pharmacies in its food and drug stores, is now the nation's 23rd largest pharmacy chain.

"Hy-Vee has established a reputation as a leader in the pharmacy business, so it makes sense to have our drug stores associated with the Hy-Vee name as well," Goodhall said. The name change does not mean the stores themselves will change the way they do business. Hy-Vee has already been modernizing the format and adding products and services.

"Over the past few years, we've focused on positioning our drug stores as neighborhood markets," he said. "While showcasing the friendly, professional service in our pharmacies, we've also expanded to offer more grocery items, more health-related products and more services such as one-hour and digital photo processing."

A new Hy-Vee drugstore prototype currently under development will add to these elements a Hy-Vee baby department and a much larger selection of fine wines and spirits. In the next year, Hy-Vee plans to unveil the prototype design in new or remodeled stores planned for Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Ottumwa and Mason City, Iowa.

In other company news, seven members of the LPGA Hall of Fame will tee it up June 16-19 at Hyperion Field Club for the sixth annual Hy-Vee Classic. Members of the Hy-Vee Classic field this year have collectively amassed 214 LPGA victories, including 49 major titles.

Proceeds from this year's tournament will once again benefit Variety Club -- The Children's Charity. Last year's Hy-Vee Classic raised $250,000 for Variety Club, bringing the total raised since the event’s inception to more than $800,000.

Hy-Vee, an employee-owned corporation operating 222 retail stores in seven Midwestern states, posted record sales of $4.6 billion in 2004, ranking it among the top 15 supermarket chains and the top 30 private companies in the nation.
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