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Grocery Stores Gone Wild!

Hy-Vee, an employee-owned Midwestern chain grocery store, opened a new location in town and has got everyone a-buzz. I had my doubts that a trip to the market could be considered anything but a necessary evil, but even Bill had heard the hubbub and wanted to check it out — so off we went to the grocer.
The first clue that something was amiss was the parking lot! On a late Sunday morning, my usual no-hassle shopping time of choice, the 400-space parking lot was jam-packed. Upon entering I soon found out why.
A brunch buffet is served on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and what a buffet it is! Salads, biscuits and gravy, potatoes, shrimp cocktail, and a guy carving a fine-looking standing rib roast for starters. If none of that tripped your fancy, you could belly up to the omelet bar or the yogurt and fruit bar to start your day — or all three for that matter — for a piddly 10 bucks.
But the real kicker was the upstairs BAR. Yes, folks, if the idea of picking up a week’s worth of grub is so repulsive, you can fortify yourself with a cocktail before you take on the dreaded task. A full-service bar is available starting at 11 a.m. during the week and 9 a.m. on Sundays to accommodate the Bloody Mary crowd. You can grab a beer and watch the game or purchase your dinner in the Market Café and order a bottle of wine to enjoy!
If you’ve come to actually shop, the store itself is something to behold — nearly 100,000 square feet of goods and services in one convenient spot. Pick up some previously impossible to find jack fruit in their exotic produce department, wander over to the in-house bakery for fresh bread, stop by the meat and fish department, grab a lamb chop or choose a live lobster from the tank AND have one of the two in house chefs prepare it for you while you finish your shopping!
Besides the usual foodstuffs, this location has a large organic department and a ton of items available for bulk purchase. Trail mix, chia seeds, locally sourced honey, organic flour and agave nectar, just to name a few, can be purchased by weight.
Extra wide aisles accommodate the flow of traffic in this energy-efficient mega store. To prohibit the needless waste of refrigerated air, open dairy cases have been replaced with brightly lit, glass-encased units. Not only does the store’s lighting system adjust to the time of day, the rows of less-often visited freezer cases remain dark until an approaching customers’ movement triggers a sensor to light the cases.
I applaud the chain’s conservation efforts, but personally this type of store is not for me. As one who loves to cook with fresh foods, a quick ingredient run would be anything but “quick” once I navigated the parking lot, did a 500-yard dash through the aisles and waited in the serpentine-like checkout lines.
But for those of you who like to do their shopping, cardio and partying in one fell swoop, they’ve certainly got you covered!
Are you a fan of the mega stores? What about grabbing a cocktail while you shop? —Karen

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1 Comment
  1. As someone who lives in Illinois, I only shop at HyVee because they are really the only decent option around here. I can promise you that not all of them are as crazy huge as the one you have. Although, I wish ours around here did half of what yours did! I’d kill for some jackfruit and a bulk area where I shop!

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