Special guest Senator Chuck Grassley attended the groundbreaking ceremony, along with representatives from Hy-Vee and the Cherokee Area Economic Development Corporation, as well as county and city officials.
The 230,000 square-foot warehouse expansion will house dry grocery items and general merchandise products. The estimated $17 million project is expected to be completed in approximately 10 months. The warehouse will create 10 to 12 new jobs over the next three years.
Hy-Vee is expanding in Cherokee rather than building a new warehouse elsewhere after a supply chain analyst, hired by the company, found the current geographic locations of its stores in relation to its distribution centers in Cherokee, Chariton and Ankeny were adequate.
The additional space was needed in Cherokee as overflow of product has been pushed into outside sheds and trailers.
"We congratulate Hy-Vee and the Cherokee Community," said Grassley. "This is a great credit to Hy-Vee and the quality and work ethic of the employees here. This points to two major attributes of the Iowa worker -- production and quality. When I speak about the Iowa worker on a national level, I speak about their production and the quality of their work to the benefit of the consumer."
Among the other speakers were Mark Buschkamp, Cherokee Area Economic Development Corporation director; Cherokee Mayor Pam Pierce; Board of Supervisors chairman Jeff Simonsen; and Tod Hockenson, Assistant Vice President of Distribution, Hy-Vee, Inc.
"If it wasn't for the work ethic and efficiency of our employees, we wouldn't be standing here today," said Hockenson while praising his dedicated 350-member work force. "We deliver 15 million pounds of groceries and merchandise each week to our stores in Western Iowa, Eastern Nebraska and South Dakota, and Southern Minnesota.
"We needed to expand and we're very happy that Cherokee is the place where we decided to expand. I look forward to making the Cherokee Distribution center a viable part of Hy-Vee and this community for the next 20-30 years.
Hy-Vee located its Northern Division Distribution Center here 40 years ago, and has undergone two expansions here since that time, the last one in 1991.
Hy-Vee is an employee-owned corporation operating 224 retail stores in seven Midwestern states. For 2007, Hy-Vee recorded total sales of $5.6 billion, ranking it among the top 30 supermarket chains, and the top 50 private companies in the United States.