The Janesville store is also a remodel of a former store, a Shopko location that served the Janesville community for many years. After a $27 million investment and an extensive overhaul that began in April 2022, the interior looks like a ground-up supermarket.
The layout, services and amenities reflect the grocer’s shopper-first mantra and approach to food retailing. For example, to appeal to busy yet discerning customers, one side of the store resembles a food hall, with foodservice counters that include Hy-Vee partner Wahlburgers and Hy-Vee’s Nori Sushi, HyChi and Hibachi Asian food, Mia Italian wood-fired pizza, Long Island Deli and Market Grille offerings. For those who want to kick back for a bit, this location follows other store formats in offering a full-service bar and café.
Touchscreen kiosks allow shoppers to custom order meals for themselves and their families. “If you bring a family of four or five, your child can have pizza or you can get the hamburger the way you want it,” explained Tina Potthoff, SVP of communications for Hy-Vee during a store tour.
Kiosks and more than 50 TV monitors are set up throughout the space to engage and inform shoppers, whether they are ordering a birthday cake from the “Cake This” studio, learning about Hy-Vee’s standards for cattle used in its beef program or scanning a QR code in the wine, beer and spirits department to get a cocktail recipe. Storewide digital shelf tags give consumers the best and most updated prices, while a mobile Scan & Go checkout option provides a speedy checkout experience.
“It’s seamless – not without effort from a lot of people on the back side,” says Gosch of Hy-Vee’s embrace of technology. “As we continue to roll out technology, all of that is part of the customer journey and what they are expecting.” He noted that shoppers’ use of the Hy-Vee app will figure large in the future of grocery tech and convenience.
Hy-Vee’s ability to create boutique-like experiences throughout its stores is also evident in the Janesville location. The assortment of nonfoods, including Joe Fresh clothing, DSW footwear, beauty products, kitchenware and gifts likewise exemplifies the retailer’s efforts to provide more lifestyle solutions to consumers. The kid-in-a-candy-shop vibe comes to life at the in-store candy shop that has become a signature Hy-Vee feature.
Gosch, who took over as CEO in October and was named vice chairman of Hy-Vee’s board in December, agreed that this latest Hy-Vee shows how far the grocery industry and its workers and leaders have come since he joined the industry at age 14 at his local S&S Food Store and began working at Hy-Vee at age 20. “I worked my way up through the system as most of us did. Even if you go back to a 1995 Hy-Vee employee and to what these stores have become, it’s pretty amazing. Generationally, they have continued to really evolve and to again follow the customer,” he declared.
The Janesville location at 2500 Humes Road is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. The store offers delivery and pickup service and is staffed by a team of 631 employees, including 146 full-time workers.
Employee-owned Hy-Vee operates more than 285 retail stores across eight Midwestern states and has a team of more than 93,000 employees. The West Des Moines, Iowa-based company is No. 30 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.