Fishers-based Vibenomics signs audio deal with grocery chain Hy-Vee

Fishers-based audio marketing tech company Vibenomics Inc. has inked a multiyear deal with the multistate grocery chain Hy-Vee, which is planning to open a store in the Indianapolis market in 2023.

Vibenomics uses cloud-based technology, data integration capabilities, a licensed library of background music and on-demand professional voice talent to deliver music, audio advertising and messaging to in-store customers.

Vibenomics audio will be heard in more than 400 Hy-Vee stores beginning Feb. 15, Vibenomics announced Tuesday. The partnership includes both Hy-Vee’s grocery stores and its convenience chain, called Hy-Vee Fast and Fresh.

Based in West Des Moines, Iowa, Hy-Vee operates grocery stores and convenience stores in eight Midwestern states: Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin. About 285 of those locations are full grocery stores and the rest are convenience stores.

With the addition of Hy-Vee, “there’s very few places across the Midwest and across the U.S. now that you can go and not hear Vibenomics being aired,” Vibenomics CEO Brent Oakley told IBJ.

Earlier this month Hy-Vee confirmed that it plans to enter the Indianapolis market, but an in-person media event earlier this month was scrapped because of the COVID-19 omicron surge. The retailer said it will have more information about its Indianapolis plans when it releases a video message from its CEO in coming days, but as of Monday it had not yet provided that information.

Vibenomics says its audio product can be heard in more than 6,000 locations across 49 states, reaching up to 63% of total U.S. shoppers. Its customers include Kroger, which has more than 2,300 stores and is the country’s largest grocery chain.

Oakley said his company got a foothold with Hy-Vee through an unusual source: former Indianapolis Colts tight end Dallas Clark. Clark, who played nine seasons with the Colts, has since retired from pro football and now lives in Iowa.

Clark was the one who made an introduction between Hy-Vee and Vibenomics, Oakley said. “He was kind enough to say, you guys should talk … It was a fun, serendipitous connection, for sure.”

Vibenomics has about 40 employees, about 60% of whom live in the Indianapolis area and 40% who live elsewhere and work remotely. Oakley said the company expects to add another eight to 10 employees by the end of the year.

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