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Hy-Vee ready for opening day

Kari Lucin/Daily Globe This is an exterior shot of the new Hy-Vee store, which will open at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

WORTHINGTON -- Inside the new building, the hustle and bustle carried a level of excitement as staff prepared for the opening of the new Hy-Vee.

Both the grocery store and the convenience store will open at 6 a.m. Tuesday, an event that has been eagerly anticipated by staff, management and area shoppers.

From March 22 on, Hy-Vee will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Customers will walk in to find an open, clean and friendly store, packed with a wide variety of wares.

The staff just needs to get it all in place.

"It's going smoothly, but it will be an intense few days," said store director Mike Haiar with a chuckle. "Intense in a good way."

Hy-Vee will still carry the departments people are used to shopping, such as floral, produce, meat, seafood, bakery, cheese, kitchen and deli.

But all of the areas have been expanded to include new items and more choices for the customer.

The new International Cheese department is filled to the brim with interesting and exotic cheese rounds and portions, the bakery has added decorated ice cream cakes and the other departments have all stepped up their game as well. "We're ready," Haiar said.

The expansion of the deli area is a sight to behold, and includes an Italian and Chinese foods area, a sandwich bar, a salad bar and a large dining area.

A Caribou Coffee kiosk has been constructed and is ready to brew, and the new pharmacy has both an inside counter and a drive-thru window for ease of pickup.

The Health Market offers a variety of items, including many bulk foods, and the Club Room is ready to use for food demonstrations.

Shoppers will find more than 60,000 square feet of space inside the store, and another 2,000 square feet over at the C-store.

The C-store is getting stocked and ready to open, and, according to Haiar, customers will find fuel discounts and rewards through the store.

It will carry milk, chips, pop -- all of the usual C-store items -- and they plan to adapt the rest of the items to cater to customers.

With stocking, building, preparing and cooking already going on, there is one big hurdle left to jump.

"The big challenge will be to move the old store," Haiar stated. "On Saturday at 6 p.m. we will close the old store, and we'll use probably 200 to 250 people to move the store."

Getting the system in place for the big move took some effort, but Haiar said he's confident things will go as planned.

"It's organized and ready to go, and has to be done," he said.