- Hy-Vee opened its new Fourth + Vine specialty store in downtown Des Moines this week, according to Supermarket News.
The 36,000 square-foot store features fresh food and numerous foodservice offerings, including Italian street food, sushi, a beer bar and Mexican cuisine. It also features unique features like an old-fashioned soda fountain, on-premises dry cleaning and a glass-room wine cellar with more than 1,500 bottles.
Jeff Markey, senior vice president of store development for Hy-Vee, said the store is a pilot for the company. Its various features were inspired by trips to urban markets around the U.S. and Canada.
According to the Des Moines Register, more than 300 customers lined up outside Fourth + Court for its grand opening. In interviews, shoppers said the new location offered products they couldn’t find at other stores, like Korean chili paste.
This is the sort of excitement Hy-Vee and other retailers are hoping to generate with these specialty formats. Recognizing that shoppers, particularly millennials, are bored with the usual supermarket experience, companies are investing heavily in foodservice, fresh products and special services not often associated with grocery stores.
Hy-Vee’s senior vice president of store development noted the company researched many non-grocery operators in developing Fourth + Court. This speaks to the company’s desire to move past the traditional grocery assortment and into more specialized products and services. Where the typical grocery store generalizes in many categories, these new store formats — including Whole Foods' 365 and Niemann Foods' recently opened Harvest Market — specialize in a select group of categories. Fourth + Court doesn’t just offer Italian food — it offers Italian street food. It doesn’t just have a soda fountain — it has a Brooklyn Heights artisan soda fountain.
Personalized specialty goods and services like those offered at Fourth + Court increasingly seem to be the way forward for the supermarket industry. Expect Hy-Vee to use its new format as a testing facility for products and concepts that could be used throughout the chain.