Downtown Hy-Vee is reducing hours, citing crime and loitering as reasons
DES MOINES, Iowa — The Hy-Vee grocery store in downtown Des Moines is reducing its hours due to crime, loitering and lack of traffic.
While many people were surprised to see the store change its hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Hy-Vee officials said many people ignore why the hours were changed in the first place.
In a statement, the grocery chain highlighted two main reasons for changing operating hours: loitering and theft, and lack of foot traffic after the Covid-19 pandemic.
On February 5, we changed our store hours at our 4th and Court location to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., 7 days a week. Since the pandemic, the number of clients we serve during the early morning and evening hours has decreased significantly at this location as more people who previously worked downtown are now working from home. In addition, theft and loitering at this location have become increasingly problematic, especially after 6 p.m. To put this into perspective, Des Moines police have been called about various incidents at the store more than 200 times over the past six months. We are making changes to ensure the safety of our customers and employees. We will continue to evaluate this store’s hours and design it to meet the needs of the downtown community.
Nola Aigner-Davis, senior communications director at Hy-Vee
To put their concerns into perspective, Hy-Vee said in the statement. The grocery store has made more than 200 calls to the Des Moines Police Department in the past six months for various incidents.
In its statement, Hy-Vee also emphasized its goal of continually evaluating location hours and layout, and said they understand the need for the Court Ave location. Hy-Vee is for the residents of downtown Des Moines and the community at large.
Individuals who frequent the site may have noticed the layout change and the closure of the Courthouse and Fifth Avenue entrances, requiring people to enter primarily through the attached parking lot. Additionally, the store has blocked off some aisles, most notably the liquor area, making shoppers pass through the Hy-Chi dining area to get to groceries.
Sgt. “That number they quoted is accurate, and it’s certainly significant,” said Paul Parizek of the Des Moines Police Department. I think everyone has the same interest, which is to see what we can do to solve the problem, and make sure that we maintain the environment that we’ve worked so hard to establish there. I mean it’s one of the crown jewels of our city and we all want it to stay that way.
Crime and low traffic have been a problem downtown businesses have been struggling with for some time. Spaghetti Works on Court Ave. has closed. in 2023, citing crime as a reason to close its doors. Recently, the Walgreens on Walnut Ave. Recently announced that after 95 years, the downtown location will be closing, citing lack of traffic as the reason.