Thursday, October 07, 2021

Doing a better job of telling the Hy-Vee story ....

There was considerable rejoicing yesterday at the Lucas County Historical Society Museum when these two gentlemen (Jonas Christian, left, and Samuel Barnhart) arrived to deliver and install our new Hy-Vee display.

As a result, we're now able to tell visitors in comprehensive fashion about an important chapter in Lucas County history --- the growth to maturity during the years  it was headquartered in Chariton (1945-1995) of the Hy-Vee corporation from a tiny chain of grocery stores to one of the Midwest's retail giants. 

Jonas is production manager and Sam, production specialist, for Presentations Inc., the Hiawatha-based company we collaborated with to develop the display --- a project perhaps two years in the making. It was funded by a major grant from the Vredenburg Foundation as well as historical society resources.

The idea for the project came from the historical society board many months ago when we realized that even though the society's collection contained Hy-Vee-related objects, we weren't doing a good job of putting the Hy-Vee story into its Lucas County context --- telling the story of a company that remains our largest employer and that has had an impact since 1945 on nearly every aspect of our culture.

Many board members had a part in the project, but Kylie Dittmer served as chair. The staff at Presentations has been amazing. And we're extremely grateful to all who played a part, but especially to John and Linda Vredenburg, Martha Vredenburg and Chuck Vredenburg for their interest and participation.

The world was a different place two years ago when we commissioned the project. Were the old ordinary still in effect, we'd have unveiled the display with a fanfare during a fall event this year.

As it stands, however, we're not going to do that. The museum will be open regular hours for the remainder of October --- 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and other times by appointment --- so anyone interested in taking a closer look at the new display is welcome to stop in and do so. Admission, as always, is free.

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