Standing before a crowd of 600-plus workers on the eve of the grand opening of Hy-Vee’s newest store in Urbandale, Iowa, last month, Randy Edeker, the chain’s new chief executive officer, exhorted the troops to make the store a success. “The people who work in the stores are the ones with the ideas, who know how things should be done,” he said. “We have a culture of ownership, a culture of autonomy.” His words encapsulated the essence of West Des Moines, ...

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