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Barlow Hy-Vee in for some major changes

By Matt Russell

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

A Caribou Coffee stand is coming to the Hy-Vee grocery store at Barlow Plaza in Rochester, one of several changes planned as part of a major remodeling project.

The changes, which will include new Chinese and Italian delis, as well as new salad and soup bars, will be implemented in 12 phases, with work concentrated on one part of the store at a time to minimize disruptions to shoppers, said store director Michael Long.

Customers will likely start noticing changes in May, when the bakery will close for renovations. Baked goods will be brought in from the other two Rochester Hy-Vee stores during that time, Long said.

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The changes will continue with the removal of a mezzanine area near the store’s entrance, where offices are situated.

"That will open the whole store up," Long said.

That change will also clear space for the Caribou Coffee stand, which will resemble the Starbucks stand at the Hy-Vee in south Rochester. The Caribou stand will be staffed by Hy-Vee employees, Long said.

Other changes include:

  •  A new health food section, which will be located in a back corner of the store. It will be nearly 40 percent larger than the health food section at the Hy-Vee store in south Rochester.
  •  Space for cooking classes. The cost for classes will likely be $25, with participants given $25 Hy-Vee gift cards at the end of the class, Long said.
  •  The dining area will triple to 100 seats and move to where the video store is now located.
  •  The pharmacy will move to its own corner of the store, giving it more space to operate. The cosmetics section will also be expanded.
  •  The deli with meats and cheeses will be moved to a new walk-around island.
  • Seafood will be displayed in an open-air case.
  •  A baby department will be added with clothing, strollers, and car seats.
  •  The checkout area will be updated to resemble the upscale treatment at the nearby Hy-Vee Wine and Spirits. The store will also have six express lanes instead of four, and they will be placed closer to the door.
  •  Floors in the main grocery area will be replaced and will blend together with the non-stick tile floor in the produce section.
  •  Wooden soffits will be replaced with stucco, the only change planned for the store’s exterior.

Customers will notice a wider selection of goods, and 15 extra full-time employees will be hired to staff larger departments, Long said. He expects 3,500 new items to be added to the 47,000-item store, a 7.5-percent increase.
Long said the changes stem from what customers have told Hy-Vee they want to have. He added that some changes will resemble what’s being done at groceries on the coasts and that increased health-consciousness is also driving changes at Hy-Vee.

"I think Rochester will be excited about this kind of look," Long said, adding that he doesn’t know of plans for similar renovations at the other two Hy-Vee stores in Rochester.

The Hy-Vee at Barlow Plaza is at 1315 Sixth St. N.W.

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