Hy-Vee Gas cashier Raya Schreiber, center, smiles during a brief conversation with customer Sue Young on Tuesday at Hy-Vee Gas. On the left is cashier Dalynn Wildman. – Tim Engstrom/Albert Lea Tribune
Hy-Vee Gas cashier Raya Schreiber, center, smiles during a brief conversation with customer Sue Young on Tuesday at Hy-Vee Gas. On the left is cashier Dalynn Wildman. – Tim Engstrom/Albert Lea Tribune

Hy-Vee Gas reopens with Caribou Coffee

Published 9:59am Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hy-Vee Gas reopened Tuesday in a new building with enough room for a Caribou Coffee — not merely a coffee stand, but an entire store.

The stand inside the main Hy-Vee grocery store will remain, said store manager Al Weisert, as it is a draw for customers. He said having the store is a good complement to the convenience store.

“Caribou Coffee, being a Minnesota company, is a huge draw for people in the area,” he said.

The full store offers more than coffee drinks. It has breakfast and lunch food, too, and a greater variety of drink orders. There is free wireless Internet, a fireplace and lounge seating.

Customer Emma Reichl, 15, of Wisconsin said she was excited to find a Caribou Coffee in Albert Lea. She noticed it was open while driving past Tuesday. She was in Albert Lea to visit her grandmother.

“There’s not many good places to get coffee,” she said.

The new Hy-Vee Gas and Caribou Coffee occupy a 4,500-square-foot building. And for the first time, the Albert Lea Hy-Vee Gas has diesel pumps.

The old station had four pumps with eight dispensers, and the new one has eight pumps with 16 dispensers.

The former gas station will be torn down starting Thursday to make room for a drive-thru, access to a car wash, a second entrance from Bridge Avenue, additional parking, an air station and space for the city’s plans to align Plaza Street. Weisert estimated a grand opening will take place in late July. A soft second opening takes place next Wednesday.

The new Hy-Vee Gas and Caribou Coffee created an additional 16 jobs, Weisert said. The two places employ about 25 people.

Weisert said the car wash is to be a “state of the art” touchless laser car wash. Behind the store will be a retention pond and green space. The south side of Caribou Coffee will have outdoor seating.

He said he was proud to shop local in getting contractors.

“We used all local contractors for the entire project except for the tanks,” Weisert said.

Larson Contracting was the general contractor.

The new Hy-Vee Gas offers 24 varieties of pop, 13 varieties of cappuccino, six varieties of iced tea, six types of slushies, four kinds of Caribou coffee, three options of oatmeal and several selections of F’real shakes. The convenience store has gourmet hot dogs, tornadoes, made-in-the-store hot pizza, sandwiches and a condiment bar. There is take-and-bake pizza, fresh fruits and Di Lusso sandwiches like in the Hy-Vee grocery store. One aisle offers healthy options recommended by the Hy-Vee dietitian.

Hy-Vee Gas is slated to begin offering propane exchanges, too, Weisert said.

 

 

New hours

Hy-Vee Gas

Address: 2717 N. Bridge Ave.

Hours: 5 a.m.-11 p.m.

Phone: 377-2952

 

Caribou Coffee

Address: 2717 N. Bridge Ave.

Hours: 5:30 a.m.-9 p.m.

Phone: 373-2291