WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Hy-Vee Food Stores here was built on a set of cultural values developed 75 years ago that continue to set the tone for the way the company conducts itself today.
Ron Pearson, the chain's former chief executive officer, spelled out those values in a booklet he wrote six years ago, based in the principles of Dwight Vredenburg, the son of one of the chain's two founders and the guiding force at Hy-Vee for 51 years. According to the book, Hy-Vee fundamentals include the following:
— A commitment to friendliness and "a helpful smile in every aisle."
— Hiring people who really care about customers and who find ways to make their trip more pleasurable, fun and exciting.
— Sincerity, "[so] our customers know what we say is what we do."
— Respect for the differences and for the wants and desires of all customers.
— A morality that calls for employees to "do what is right at every turn [and to] never uphold less than the finest caliber language, behavior or standards."
— A dedication to providing the best customer service.
— A sense of fairness so that every decision is based on what is most fair to all involved.
— Politeness and good manners at all times.
— The utmost dignity in treating customers and employees.
— Employee ownership so "all Hy-Vee growth accrues to the employee/owners. That's why we work hard to help the company improve and grow."