COLUMBIA— The employee-owned supermarket chain Hy-Vee Inc. is planning to build two new stores in Columbia over the next year, a spokeswoman said.
The company has agreed to buy the old Wal-Mart property in the Rock Bridge Shopping Center at Providence Road and Nifong Boulevard as well as the former Megamart at 25 Conley Road, said Chris Frieslebem, a spokeswoman for Hy-Vee.
“We’ve been looking for places to build an additional store in Columbia for quite some time,” she said.
Frieslebem estimated that the new stores could bring as many as 700 new jobs to Columbia.
The Des Moines-based supermarket chain plans to begin construction of the first store at Nifong Boulevard this fall and at Conley Road next spring, Frieslebem said. There is no estimated date of completion for either project.
“Columbia is a good market for us; it’s a growing market, and we are very choosey about where we place our stores,” Frieslebem said. She said the company’s research pointed to the locations as good building sites.
Hy-Vee operates one store in Columbia, at 3100 W. Broadway, across the street from a recently built Wal-Mart shopping center. And although both of the new stores would be close to other supermarkets, including two Wal-Marts, the company leaders see a good chance for success.
“It’s not our strategy to build next to Wal-Mart. It just happened that land was the land we wanted,” she said.
“We think that in this business, competition is good for everybody.”
The Kroenke Group owned both properties, according to the Boone County Assessor’s office.
Hy-Vee is an employee-owned company and is not publicly traded, with more than 49,000 workers.
There are more than 200 retail stores in seven states across the Midwest. The company ranks among the top 15 supermarket chains in the country and reported $5.1 billion in sales last year.