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Hy-Vee's fourth Rochester store opens

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Greg White picked out a few honeycrisp apples at the new Hy-Vee this morning, but he admitted "I'm really here just to check out the new store."

Hy-Vee opened its fourth Rochester store this morning at 4211 West Circle Drive NW, with many customers showing up on the first day.

The 94,000-square-foot store has 550 employees, as well as an expanded health market section.

It even has two windmills in parking lot that generate energy for the electric car charger stations.

Hy-Vee is owned by its employees, who enjoy profit-sharing and 401(k) benefits.

Hy-Vee is in the midst of an ambitious Minnesota expansion. It recently opened stores in New Hope and Oakdale, and in 2016 stores will open in Lakeville and Brooklyn Park. The goal, once those four are established, is to add four to five supermarkets in the Twin Cities per year. Eagan and Savage are the next likely locations.

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Hy-Vee has 235 stores in eight states, making $8.7 billion annually, with 20 of those stores in Minnesota.

Iowa, where the company is based, currently holds the most stores, but if the Twin Cities expansion succeeds, that soon will change. Hy-Vee is hoping to make the Twin Cities their top market by sales volume.

This summer, Hy-Vee finished a renovation of its 32-year-old north store in Rochester.

That grand opening look includes a new storefront, a full service restaurant Market Cafe open seven days a week with three meals a day, a full Starbucks and a mother's room for nursing customers.

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