BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON -Big moving equipment, trailers and a lot of dirt are taking up about four square blocks on the southwest corner of 18th and H, but it’s all in the name of progress.
Fareway Grocery, of Boone, Iowa announced the new opening and broke ground this fall and began demolition right away.
Corporate Outreach and Communications Director, Emily Toribio said work on the site is going well.
“Demolition is nearly complete. All things so far seem to be on schedule with our current timeline,” she said. “But clearly we’ll be at the mercy of the weather over the next few months, so we’ll see how things go this winter.”
Demolition crews are removing the entire building and foundation and basically stripping everything down to the earth the former County Market building was built on.
Toribio says there haven’t been any snags so far.
“Not to my knowledge. We are all good and our hope is to open in the fall,” she said.
When asked for an opening date, Toribio said Fareway sets new openings for seasons so they can adjust for any unforeseen circumstances… such as the weather.
“We set it for a season and hope that we can reach that. We’ll have something of a more concrete date by late summer.
The building is planned to be 19,000 square feet located at 1820 Avenue H. But Toribio didn’t have an idea of how many employees would be hired.
“We leave that up the open interview process and local management team to determine how much of a staff they will need,” she said.
“But the store will have our unmatched meat department, great produce and low competitive prices. And we also have our personalized To-Your-Car carryout. We’re really excited to be coming to Fort Madison and we’re hoping that’s reciprocated. It’ll be nice to provide for those area residents.”
The first Fareway Store opened for business at 624 Story Street in Boone, Iowa, on May 12, 1938. According to the Fareway website at www.fareway.com, the first ad featured coffee at 14 cents a pound and a “regular package” of Wheaties for 10 cents.
Fareway’s concept of a self-service grocery store was considered revolutionary, allowing shoppers to pick out their own groceries rather than submitting a list to someone who would package everything for them. Shopping carts were a novelty, referred to as “rubber-tired gliders” that carried shopping baskets.
The name Fareway was originally chosen to convey a “wide range of stock of foods,” with the word “fare” meaning food. “Bill of fare” was also the commonly used phrase for “grocery list”. The name also symbolized the idea of treating employees and customers fairly-where hard work deserved a fair wage, customers could expect to pay fair prices.