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The Fareway Experience Starts Behind the Scenes

Fareway in DSM USA

September 20, 2019

Based out of Boone, Iowa, Fareway is a family-owned, growing grocery company that operates more than 120 store locations in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota. As a top 10 employer in Iowa with more than 12,000 employees, Fareway is synonymous with only the best in fresh, high-quality meat; full-service butcher counters; farm-fresh produce; low, competitive prices; and the highest level of customer service, including to-your-car carryout. In store, customers experience a local, grocery store feel with expanded category sections and efficient store layout for ease of shopping.

Grocery Open House

As customers wheel around our stores, one experience often not considered is exactly how the food on the shelves gets to the store. That’s why Fareway opened its refrigerated distribution center doors at their campus east of Boone for a special open house and tour from Noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 24. 

Fareway’s corporate campus exceeds one million square feet of office, distribution center, mechanical, and maintenance space. Within the campus, Fareway’s refrigerated warehouse contains approximately 200,000 square feet. With an encouraged attire of jackets and closed-toe shoes, more than 250 people toured Fareway’s refrigerated facilities. The experience started with how to move food with pallet jacks, double pallet jacks and forklifts, machines that weigh over 3,500 pounds alone. Food storage coolers were opened to show just how food is stored, and the varying degrees of the coolers was palpable. From 55 degrees for fresh items like onions and potatoes, to a deep freeze of 0 degrees for frozen foods, you had the opportunity to see and feel how food is kept safe before distribution to the store.

The Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) — state-of-the-art technology that scans pallets by barcodes and relays commands to automated cranes that transfer the pallets for storage into an eight-level tall warehouse — was also in operation. Food on the pallets is then processed for store orders by voice pick commands, sent via Bluetooth headsets worn by the order picking crew. The pickers place individual items, ordered by store managers, onto a transfer belt. These items travel down an eight-level tall, spiral conveyer belt to eventually be scanned by another barcode reader, photographed by multiple cameras, and robotically “kicked” down a sorting lane corresponding to the ordering store. Employees carefully stack these items onto pallets and wrap them with shrink wrap to prepare them for the trip to store shelves. In all, the tour explained the full cycle of refrigerated items as they are received into the distribution center and stocked in temperature-controlled warehouse rooms. Fulfillment followed, with a description of the order picking process, and finally, loading of pallets onto trailers to be shipped to the store.

Outside, you had the opportunity to climb aboard a semi-truck and see trailers from Fareway’s fleet. Fareway swag was available to kids, but the meat hats were certainly the hot item! Of course, no visit to Fareway would be complete without food, and refreshments were provided for all attendees.

Fareway’s distribution complex is located at 2300 Industrial Park Road, and more specifically, the refrigerated distribution center is on Quartz Avenue, between 200th and 210th Streets. At Fareway, we are always looking for great people to join our team that embrace our values and philosophy, and truly enjoy serving others. There are open positions available at the Fareway campus in trucking, construction, maintenance and warehouse operations. Visit Fareway.com/Careers for more details and to apply.

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