A new grocery store is set to checkout the competition in what seems to be a tough market to get into. Sioux Falls Fareway will open its doors in May. Though it has stores all over the Midwest, this will be its first location in South Dakota and it will also go against one of the grocery giants in the city.
It is a fact of life that is not going away soon: people buy food. Every item on your grocery list, has been a key ingredient to success for Hy-Vee.
"Our toughest competition we get is another Hy-Vee," Bob Trader, Store Director for the location on Louise Avenue, said.
Over the years Hy-Vee has made its presence known in Sioux Falls. There are seven stores in the city, and four along the I-29 Corridor. Future stores are set to open in the next three to seven years. According to Trader, the company has been successful because it maintains a small store feel, but keeps an eye on what is trending.
"Whether it be product trends, desires of the people, where the shopping patterns are going, we're tackling online shopping in the next few years in a big way," Trader said.
In the past five years, Hy-Vee has focused on adding Starbucks to locations, and within this past year, two locations have added legitimate sushi bars. This motto has helped the grocery store chain edge out the competition. Three years ago it purchased three Sunshine Foods locations, and now only one Sunshine remains in downtown Sioux Falls.
"Everybody's fighting for the same pie. You just want to make sure, wherever you go, you do well," Jeff Borrill, Fareway Western Region Vice President, said.
Fareway is not new to the area. It has 104 stores peppered throughout the upper Midwest. 93 of them are in Iowa, where the company was founded. As officials interview hundreds of potential employees for its new location on 41st Street in May, Borrill says there is no concern about standing out against tough competition.
"Everybody has their niche they do. I think one thing we do, like I said, is personalized customer service. If you stick to what you've done and doing those things very well, then that is what makes you successful and people trust that, I think," Borrill said.
Borrill said the chain has stuck with simplicity. No bells and whistles, but an emphasis on things like carrying groceries out to a customer's car. The store also boasts full service meat departments, which are rare in most conventional grocery stores.
"We open up in markets like this. We have stores in Omaha, Des Moines, Cedar Falls, Dubuque. We feel like what we have to offer is unique and it's just something special," Borrill said.
Right now, there is just one store planned for Sioux Falls, and officials will explore expansion depending on whether Fareway becomes a grocery staple in the city. Though Hy-Vee and Fareway compete with each other elsewhere, the competition is new in Sioux Falls. WalMart is also a competitor, as are several small grocery stores (KELOLAND reached out to local grocers, as well as Sunshine Foods, but owners/managers declined on-camera interviews). Trader said Hy-Vee will remain the same by continuing to focus on change.
"We're never looking backwards. We're never looking at today. We're always looking forward," Trader said. "When you fall behind these trends, you missed your country changing from a blue collar country and a factory manufacturing economy to a service economy. You have to make those changes and follow those things. Again, we study those trends constantly."
As for where the grocery market trend in Sioux Falls heads, and who comes out on top, customers will have to wait to check out what is in store for the future.