Fareway bakery to serve as ‘hub’
FAIRMONT– Fareway’s recently remodeled bakery will allow the Fairmont grocery store to supply baked goods to six other nearby Fareway stores. The expansion project began in November and is just wrapping up with full operations to take off in early March.
Cory Hallberg, grocery manager at Fareway in Fairmont, said this is the biggest project that’s been done in the Fairmont store since it opened in 2010.
The decision to expand the bakery was a corporate one.
“Fareway figured out that if they have one bakery that can bake for five or six stores, it’s more efficient and profitable,” Hallberg explained.
He said that Fairmont was selected as the hub as it is already the largest of the six stores that it will be serving. However, as part of the process, Fareway’s bakery went from being about 550 sq. ft. to 1,000 sq. ft.
In doing the expansion, no addition was added to the actual building, though they lost a little sale floor space, about 12 ft. of shelving.
“It didn’t really affect much,” Hallberg said.
Along with the extra space comes new and bigger equipment. Hallberg said their former oven could hold six trays and bake six dozen cookies at a time, but that the new walk-in oven can bake 40 dozen cookies at once.
“We can bake 50 angel food cakes at a time,” Hallberg said.
The bakery also got a new walk-in freezer, new proofer oven, a new dishwasher and a new mixer.
Starting next month, Fairmont’s Fareway will begin baking for six other Fareway stores. They are Worthington, Spirit Lake, Algona, Emmetsburg, Spencer and Estherville.
Of the six stores, Worthington is the only one that has had a bakery. For the 13 weeks that Fairmont’s bakery was under construction, Worthington’s was producing and delivering baked goods here. It will be the first store that Fairmont starts baking for.
As a result of the expansion, operations at Fairmont’s Fareway will ramp up. Hallberg said they’ll be doing a lot more prep and putting out a lot more product.
“In reality we’re taking our production times six,” Hallberg said.
Because of this, Fareway in Fairmont is looking to hire about 10 more people to work in the bakery.
“We ran our original bakery with four people and we’ll have about 15 by the time we’re all done,” Hallberg said.
Those in the bakery start working by 5 or 6 in the morning and finish by about 6 in the evening. The product will be brought to the other stores via a delivery van which will run six days a week across Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa.
“We’ll be delivering to three stores everyday,” Hallberg said.
As for what the bakery will be putting out, items include breads, cookies, cupcakes, snack mixes, croutons, bars, sweet breads and custom orders for all the stores.
“If we have a recipe for it, we can do it,” said Hallberg said.
He acknowledged that the decision to have Fairmont serve as a hub is good for not only Fareway and its other stores, but Fairmont itself.
“There will be more employees, more sales and more profitability. We’ll be able to get our bakery products out to six other stores, five of which have never had Fareway bakery products before,” Hallberg said.