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As of March 4th, 2023, one familiar “helpful smile in every aisle” is missing.
That’s because Kirk Golliday retired after forty-eight years of employment at Mount Ayr’s Hy-Vee Food Store.
In fact, forty-eight years to the day; March 4, 1975 to March 4, 2023.
Hy-Vee first came to Mount Ayr in October 1947 when Hy-Vee co-founder Charles Hyde opened Hyde’s Food Store at 112 West Madison. Mr. Hyde was living in Lamoni at this time but had previously lived in Mount Ayr in 1923-24 when he worked for the General Supply Store, headquartered in Lamoni.
Hyde had also lived in Kellerton from 1927 to 1933. The name Hy-Vee came into use in 1952 and Hyde’s Food Store became Hy-Vee Food Store in August 1952.
Hy-Vee Food Store bought the former United Food Market building at 107 N. Fillmore in 1962 and moved to this modern building in September of that year. A fire in July 1964 forced Hy-Vee to return to the former location until the damage could be repaired, which was completed in November 1964.
Kirk began working at Hy-Vee while still in high school. He graduated from Mount Ayr Community High School in 1977 with thoughts of attending the American Institute of Business in Des Moines. But. his future wife, Denise Dulany, wouldn’t graduate until 1979 and Kirk loved his job so he stayed in Mount Ayr becoming a full time employee.
The retail food industry was much different forty-eight years ago.
Soda pop came in glass bottles, cash registers were non-electric, food stamps were printed on paper, and check writing was common.
The Hy-Vee Store had nine full time employees (and a few part time) as Kirk remembers and there were three aisles.
Manager Jim Freeman was responsible for organizing, maintaining, and ordering products for one aisle. Assistant Manager Charles Richards and the dairy manager were responsible for the other two aisles. Hy-Vee was closed on Sunday during that time.
Kirk’s duties varied greatly in forty-eight years ranging from sacker to Assistant Manager of Store operations. In between was stocking shelves, shipping and receiving, cashier, maintenance, cleaning, ordering, setting up displays, rotating stock, hauling trash, making up fruit baskets, handling empty pop cans and bottles, and training new employees – hundreds of them! .
Also, being the “helpful smile in every aisle” meant providing service such as helping a customer find a product, providing information about products and services, and being a friendly reminder of Hy-Vee’s heritage.
And Kirk was the right man for the job.
Hy-Vee moved from 107 N. Fillmore to the 400 block of South Hayes Street in July 1992.
This building was erected for Don Solliday in 1965 as Don’s Ayrliner. The new location provided much more space and parking. The old building was torn down in early 1995 to make way for the new Place’s store.
In 2019 Hy-Vee bought the ShopKo Pharmacy. The ShopKo building was purchased soon after. Hy-Vee moved to the former ShopKo location and opened on March 9, 2021 at 201 N. Fillmore Street. The amount of square feet was tripled in the move.
As Kirk retires, his daughter Amber continues the Golliday tradition at Hy-Vee in Mount Ayr. She started work in 2001 and is still there.
When asked about a special memory in his career, Kirk recalls a memorable retirement party.
40-year employee Doyle Campbell was set to retire and a party was planned for September 27, 1997. Kirk called Hy-Vee President Dwight Vredenburg, son of co-founder David Vredenburg, and asked if he would attend the celebration. Mr. Vredenburg checked his schedule and said yes he could attend. So Mr. and Mrs. Vredenburg helped Doyle celebrate his retirement.
The president of Hy-Vee did not attend Kirk’s retirement but Kirk did get his picture on the side of a Hy-Vee tractor-trailer.
That’s almost as good.