Hy-Vee closing affects student employees

Hy-Vee closing leaves student employees looking for work

With students constantly searching for a means to make money, many joined the Hy-Vee staff for its convenient location and supportive team. In light of its closing, former employees are now stressing about how to support themselves financially. 

Emma Hardesty

“The close has definitely taken a mental toll on me with the stress of trying to find work,” senior Liliana King Wilson said. “I’ve been going to Hy-Vee since I was little, so I was able to walk to work, which was super convenient. Since they told me Hy-Vee was going to be closing, I was completely shocked, just because we’d been going there my entire life.

Former employee senior Matthew Brandenburger shared  similar feelings of sentimentality towards the closing. 

“On the employee side of things, it put me out of a job so that was pretty hard,” senior Matthew Brandenburger said “But as a customer, I’ve been shopping at Hy-Vee since I moved to Lawrence about 15 years ago, which is kind of a weird feeling,” says Senior Matthew Brandenburger. 

Former employee sophomore Ajay Mcmahan only worked at Hy-Vee for a limited amount of time, but emphasized how positive Hy-Vee’s work environment was. 

“Working at Hy-Vee was definitely a good experience,” Mcmahan said. “It taught me good work ethic and improved my people skills.”

Hy-Vee’s consistent supportive atmosphere fostered many bonds between coworkers which will be challenging for them to give up.

Emma Hardesty

“I feel like in any workspace ever there’s usually at least some drama between coworkers, but everyone who worked at Hy-Vee was super cool and easy to get along with, which was really nice,” says King-Wilson. 

With Hy-Vee being a fairly popular grocery store among Lawrence residents, many were surprised by its closing. With other major grocery stores surrounding it’s area, such as Dillon’s, Walmart, and Sprouts, the competition left Hy-Vee struggling to stay in business. 

“There were four other grocery stores within a mile of our store, making it a competitive environment to be in,” former Hy-Vee chef Andrew Johnson said. “So there just wasn’t enough business to go around, My kitchen was one of the top 5 in the region, but the rest of the store just couldn’t bring in the sales.”

Although many of Hy-Vee’s employees were highschool and college students looking for a part time position, its staff also included adults working to pay bills with a full time position. 

“Financially, the close wasn’t really a big deal for me,” said Mcmahan. “Since I don’t have to pay bills or taxes or anything yet, but I could definitely see how it could be a big problem for adults that worked there full time, which is really unfortunate.”

The closing of Hy-Vee has made a significant impact on not only the employees who were forced out of work, but on the community as a whole which lost a well-established business.