Hy-Vee, one of the largest supermarket chains in the Midwest, opened the doors to their Helpful Smiles Technology Center (HST) in Des Moines, Iowa— housing over 250 digital development, brand marketing and information technology specialists. With open seats for qualified candidates, one central question remained at the top of agendas: How do you lure top tech talent to work in the middle of a Midwestern cornfield?

Technology +

In order to attract and retain talented employees, Hy-Vee decided to focus closely on their workplace environment and culture. Our team came into the picture to bring a New York City atmosphere into the main gathering and collaborative space. With a branded cityscape made to look like Times Square, employees are immersed in Big Apple culture — complete with a replicated jumbo screen, bright lights and a permanent food truck with daily specials.

A digital tracker flashes updated company news along the walls while neon diner signs and cityscape lights cycle on and off throughout the day complete the aesthetic. Each intricate design detail was created to evoke a bustling NYC feel. DI was pleased to work with Hy-Vee Construction and VPA Architects to fully transform the small space into a booming metropolis.


The results of their refresh? Since opening in early 2017, they’ve successfully attracted top IT talent to fill the 104,000-square-foot building, despite competing opportunities in Des Moines and nearby cities. In fact, it was noted that one manager who had recently transferred to a different job, came back to work at this new location due to the draw of a remarkable work environment, showing just how powerful a unique experience can be.

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To learn more about our work, please email
Abby Hines at