MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s a new player in the grocery store game in the Twin Cities.

After months of construction, Hy-Vee is opening stores in New Hope and Oakdale Tuesday morning. The company is based in Iowa and has grocery stores in eight states across the Midwest.

Customers at the new stores will immediately notice how big they are, and they’ll also see a wide variety of foods and services. You can get a whole lot into 90,000 square feet. Besides aisles filled with a remarkably huge selection of groceries, the new Hy-Vee in Oakdale has a Starbucks coffee shop, a flower shop, a mini clinic and a pharmacy, plus an abundance of foods already prepped and ready for you to cook at home.

Dan Wellinghoff is the store manager in Oakdale.

“Families still want to prepare meals that are good quality food but they don’t have the time to do it so we have that process already in place. So the mom or the dad can come home, buy the prepared meal, put it in the oven for 35 minutes, take it out and you got a quality meal for your family,” Wellinghoff said.

Nine chefs oversee a variety of stations where cooked food is sold. And that’s in addition to the restaurant that has a full bar.

Jonathan Seltzer is a marketing professor at the University of St. Thomas. We asked him what Hy-Vee’s presence will mean for competitors like Cub, Lunds and Byerly’s, Kowalski’s and Target.

“When you have a new competitor in town, no matter what your industry is, I would expect everyone to step up their game. I guarantee there will continue to be changes in the grocery industry… the types of stores, will there be home delivery,” Seltzer said.

Hy-Vee also has an aisle with only gluten-free foods.

While just two new stores are opening this week in the Twin Cities, many more are to come.

“Next year we have four more opening. Brooklyn Park has been announced. Lakeville, they broke ground there two months ago. We will add two additional stores to that and then add four or five more stores every year after that,” Wellinghoff said.

The Oakdale and New Hope stores open Tuesday morning at 6 a.m. The New Hope store is located on 42nd Avenue and the Oakdale store is located on 10th Street.

Both stores will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In five years, there could be about 25 Hy-Vee stores here in the Twin Cities.

As for prices, what WCCO saw Monday seemed to be comparable to what is seen at Cub stores. But the selection of items was more like what you’d find in Kowalski’s or Byerly’s.

Each Hy-Vee store hired about 150 full-time employees and hundreds more part-time workers.

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