Hy-Vee expansion a boon to Our Town

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

In these times of rampant corporate greed and corruption, it's comforting to know that some companies still have the moral fiber and courage to take the time and effort to study a situation fully to better help them make rational decisions that just might benefit their employees and communities.

Such is the case for the recently announced, $17 million expansion project at the Hy-Vee Distribution Center in Cherokee.

It cannot be said enough that the two major factors positively identified as the leading factors in Hy-Vee, Inc. investing so extensively in this community were the quality and efficiency of the 350-member Cherokee Distribution Center work force, and the outstanding leadership of Tod Hockenson, the Cherokee-based Assistant Vice President of Distribution, Hy-Vee, Inc.

Together, for 40 years, that special tandem of productive employees and exemplary leadership (retired Earl Pickens, Tod Hockenson) has guided the Hy-Vee "warehouse" through good times and bad, amidst past threats of closure, and now to the dawning of an exciting new day - the proposed expansion project that will add 230,000 square feet of dry grocery storage space within 10 months, and add a dozen new employees over a three-year period.

Astute enough to recognize the incredible value throughout Cherokee County of such a project, our Board of Supervisors and the Cherokee City Council were quick to appropriately act to deliver a tax abatement totaling $560,000 over a 10-year period to help fortify the attraction of Hy-Vee to Cherokee.

In addition, the Iowa Department of Economic Development, also recognizing the thriving Iowa grocery chain's impact on the state's economy, approved another estimated $2 million in state tax credits for the project.

That leaves an estimated $15 million investment by Hy-Vee in Our Town. How deep is your love? indeed.

To top it all off, to headline Tuesday's ground-breaking ceremonies at the Cherokee plant, Hy-Vee summoned esteemed U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa farm boy who's become everyone's pal on both sides of the aisle through his many years of dedicated service to this state.

Thanks, Hy-Vee. Don't be a stranger, Chuck. What a great day for Cherokee!