WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Hy-Vee Inc. is expanding a new iteration of its Fast & Fresh concept with the pickup of four QuikTrip Corp. convenience stores.
The new concept, Fast & Fresh Express, is a smaller version of the West Des Moines-based grocery chain's Fast & Fresh concept.
Located across the Des Moines metro area, the stores are situated at 11925 University Ave. in Clive; 9915 Douglas Ave. in Urbandale; 5169 Merle Hay Road in Johnston; and 7220 Hickman Road in Windsor Heights, reported Des Moines Register.
"We are constantly reviewing all the stores that we have in all markets, and there are some throughout the course of years that just no longer fit our model, our expectations," QuikTrip spokesperson Mike Thornbrugh said.
QuikTrip will continue to operate 18 stores in the metro area.
The Tulsa, Okla.-based retailer previously closed a location at 2221 E. Euclid Ave. last April after opening another store nearby.
Making its debut in Davenport, Iowa, in December 2018, Hy-Vee Fast & Fresh is similar to a c-store in that it has fuel pumps and grab-and-go items, but it is unique because it also functions as a smaller-scale grocery store, as Convenience Store News previously reported.
Fast & Fresh Express "is more of a convenience store size … but then our offerings inside are convenience store-plus," Hy-Vee spokesperson Christina Gayman told the Des Moines Register.
Such offerings include made-to-order food, healthy snack options, and grab-and-go produce.
Currently, Hy-Vee operates one Fast & Fresh Express location in Ankeny, Iowa, along with two additional locations in the Des Moines metro area.
The grocer also operates 14 metro-area Hy-Vee Gas stores that will be rebranded to the Fast & Fresh Express banner as part of a remodel and department update initiative.
The QuikTrip locations converted to Fresh & Fresh Express will be open daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Hy-Vee plans to open the stores on March 20.
Competition among gas station and convenience stores in central Iowa is intense, according to Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives for NACS.
"I think Des Moines is arguably the most competitive spot in the country for convenience stores," he said.
Local c-store operators include Kum & Go LC, headquartered in Des Moines, and Casey's General Stores Inc., headquartered in Ankeny.
Tulsa-based QuikTrip told the Des Moines Register in 2012 that it planned to continue growing in central Iowa. Today, its growth strategy is no different.
"Des Moines has been very good to QuikTrip for many, many years. We're going to stay there and battle it out. There's a lot of good competition out there," Thornbrugh told the news outlet.