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Hy-Vee on West Broadway Employee Earns Company's Highest Honor

Jim McDonnell named 2019 Hy-Vee Legendary Customer Service Award recipient

August 29, 2019 | News & Press Releases

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (Aug. 29, 2019) — For decades, Hy-Vee stores have promised customers that they’d find “a helpful smile in every aisle.” Thanks to the commitment to customer service displayed by employees like Jim McDonnell, hundreds of Hy-Vee employees have learned what it truly means to be a helpful smile. 

McDonnell, a meat specialist at the Hy-Vee store on West Broadway in Council Bluffs, has been a shining example of customer service in every store and department where he’s worked in his more than 35 years as a Hy-Vee employee. That’s why fellow employees, family members, customers and Hy-Vee executives gathered at the Hy-Vee store on West Broadway today to surprise McDonnell with the Legendary Customer Service Award. The award recognizes exemplary achievement in providing service that exceeds customers’ expectations. Only 11 winners are selected each year from among more than 80,000 Hy-Vee employees across eight states. 

“Jim makes the needs of the store and the department his own,” wrote Dave Draheim, meat market manager at the Hy-Vee on West Broadway. “He has laid down the foundation for amazing customer service for the entire store, and it is my honor to have such a wonderful employee working in my department.”

“I started working for Hy-Vee when I was 15 years old at one of our Omaha stores,” wrote Ryan Roberts, store director at the Hy-Vee on Fleur in Des Moines. “Jim was the meat manager at that store at the time, and he introduced himself to me partway through my shift. He pointed out a customer in the aisle that I hadn’t greeted and he made sure I knew that the standard at his store was to greet each and every customer and make sure we know we’re glad to have them in our store. I never forgot that experience and I use that story as a reminder that all Hy-Vee leaders need to show our employees how to serve our customers. Jim is exactly the kind of employee this award is designed to honor.” 

Candidates are nominated for the Legendary Customer Service Award by their co-workers, and winners are selected by a panel of Hy-Vee’s top officers. Nominations are evaluated on the employee’s overall contributions to the company in nine areas: passion for customer service, attitude, initiative, teamwork, problem-solving skills, dedication to Hy-Vee fundamentals, communication skills, professional image and self-confidence.

Hy-Vee’s Chairman, CEO and President Randy Edeker said McDonnell demonstrates exactly the type of commitment to customers that Hy-Vee leaders had in mind when the Legendary Customer Service Award was established in 2006. 

“Jim lives out the things Hy-Vee stands for in everything he does — friendly, helpful and dedicated service to our customers. His nominations pointed to his consistent commitment to his customers, his co-workers and his community. He goes above and beyond with every customer interaction, and keeps his customers coming back for the excellent service that Jim provides,” Edeker said. “This award honors the best of the best from among our Hy-Vee family, and Jim is most deserving of this recognition.” 

McDonnell and the other 2019 recipients of the Legendary Customer Service Award will be inducted into 
Hy-Vee’s Customer Service Hall of Fame and receive a coveted Legendary Customer Service name badge and a custom-designed ring to commemorate the honor. They will be guests of honor at Hy-Vee’s service award dinners in October, which honor employees for longevity of service. They also will be recognized at Hy-Vee’s annual stockholders’ meeting in December, where they will receive a travel voucher good for a trip to a destination of their choice. And finally, their photos will be prominently featured on the side of Hy-Vee trucks, showcasing their helpful smiles to millions of travelers across the Midwest.


Hy-Vee Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating more than 260 retail stores across eight Midwestern states with sales of $10 billion annually. The supermarket chain is synonymous with quality, variety, convenience, healthy lifestyles, culinary expertise and superior customer service. Hy-Vee ranks in the Top 10 Most Trusted Brands and has been named one of America’s Top 5 favorite grocery stores. The company’s more than 80,000 employees provide “A Helpful Smile in Every Aisle” to customers every day. For additional information, visit