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    Hy-Vee Launches Maid-Rite Sandwich Shops

    The offering will include loose-meat sandwiches, tenderloins, chicken and milkshakes.

    DES MOINES, Iowa -- Hy-Vee Inc. and Maid-Rite Corp. this week opened the first of several sandwich shops they're planning for Hy-Vee convenience stores across the Midwest, the Iowa-based companies told The Associated Press.

    Maid-Rite opened its first sandwich shop in a Hy-Vee gas station this Monday in Omaha, Neb., with plans to open similar ventures in Iowa and Missouri in the next year. The Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe Express -- as the new concept is being called -- will offer loose-meat sandwiches, tenderloins, chicken and milkshakes, the AP reported.

    The shops are the culmination of a few years of negotiating and planning between the companies, said Maid-Rite CEO Bradley Burt. "They wanted, as we did, a respected local brand that would have familiarity and identity to the customers we all serve," he noted.

    This venture will help Hy-Vee by drawing customers inside the convenience stores to make purchases other than gasoline, which boosts store profits. It will also allow Maid-Rite to expand into areas with high customer traffic, according to the AP report.

    "Both businesses have a rich Iowa heritage," said Tom Watson, Hy-Vee's vice president of general merchandise. "We each built our brands on helpful, friendly customer service, and we're excited to work together to forward that concept in a convenience store format."

    Hy-Vee, a grocery chain that owns 77 convenience stores across the Midwest, grew out of a small general store in Beaconsfield started in 1930. The West Des Moines-based chain now has 223 retail stores in seven Midwest states and annual sales of $5.3 billion.

    Des Moines-based Maid-Rite, which has 85 restaurants in nine Midwest states, has been expanding, adding a store every two weeks, Burt told the AP. Its agreement with Hy-Vee calls for the opening of sandwich shops in Ankeny and Dubuque, Iowa and two others in Gladstone, Mo., and Osage Beach, Mo., within the next year.

    Maid-Rite was founded in Muscatine in 1926. The business was bought by Burt, a former banker, and a group of Iowa investors six years ago. Besides its Midwest presence, the company is now expanding into Texas, Oklahoma and Florida, the report stated.

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