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Iowa History Daily: March 21 - Hy-Vee's Helpful Smile

Iowa History Daily: On March 21, 1963, a Hy-Vee television commercial first aired on Iowa’s airwaves featuring the slogan “Where There’s a Helpful Smile in Every Aisle” to help highlight the popular grocery store chain's emphasis on customer service.

Back in 1917, David Vredenburg got into the grocery business operating a store for the Lamoni-based General Supply Company. In 1921, Charles Hyde started working at a store operated by Vredenberg and his partner Lewis in Woodbine. By 1930, Vredenburg decided to strike up a partnership to form the General Supply Company and open their first store in Beaconsfield, Iowa. 

After the Great Depression forced the dissolution of the General Supply Company, Vredenburg purchased many of the chain’s holdings. The two partners both operated their own stores in addition to their joint venture, and by 1938 the Hyde and Vredenburg decided to consolidate their independently owned stores in Iowa and Missouri into a 15 store chain.

The company of Hyde & Vredenburg continued to build, moving corporate headquarters to Chariton in 1945. In 1952, the company also adopted the winning entry of an employee naming contest to adopt the familiar Hy-Vee brand for the stores. Officially transferred to employee-ownership in 1960, the company officially changed the chain’s name to Hy-Vee Food Stores, Inc. in 1963. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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