History

History

1960

The Employees’ Trust Fund was established in 1960, enabling all eligible employees to share in the ownership of the company. It was the beginning of the company’s long and proud tradition of being known as an employee-owned business.

The first Drug Town opened in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, at 24 Wilson Avenue in 1969. The Drug Town stores, located in Iowa and Nebraska, were named Hy-Vee Drugstores in 2005.

Springtime Party, still an annual tradition combining spring cleaning with a celebration complete with store decoration themes and costumed employees, was introduced in 1960, while the decade also saw the introduction of the slogan “A Helpful Smile in Every Aisle” (1963) and the service award dinners, to honor employee work longevity (1964).

New store developments in the 1960s included the first courtesy counter (1960), the first eat-in area and the first express lane checkout (1961) and the first delicatessen operation (1967).

Hy-Vee began advertising on television in 1961, the same year the company bought its first computer system.

In 1963 stockholders approved a corporate name change to Hy-Vee Food Stores Inc. and Hy-Vee introduced its second logo, a stylized shopping cart. The same year, the Hy-Vee Employees’ Trust Fund acquired National Bank & Trust of Chariton, Iowa, whose ownership passed from the Trust to the corporation itself in 1986.

The first multi-store purchase from another store operator occurred in the Cedar Rapids area in 1966, adding four stores.

In 1969 Hy-Vee added a drugstore operation when it opened its first Drug Town. Also in 1969, the company expanded to its third state, Minnesota, when it merged with Swanson’s Stores Inc., based in Cherokee, Iowa.

The Hy-Vee Foundation began funding college scholarships in 1969. At the end of the decade, there were 66 stores.

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